Incorporating Medical Students into the Development of Age Friendly Healthcare Systems through Quality Improvement Projects

Date

2021

Authors

Murphy, Joshua
Philip, Timothy
Severance, Jennifer
Gibson, John
Hadley, Lesca

ORCID

0000-0001-6190-6832 (Murphy, Joshua)

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Purpose: The world is aging. Health systems are often not prepared for the number or complexity of geriatric patients. Caring for this vulnerable population through age-friendly health systems is imperative for our future. With the universal lack of geriatricians, family physicians primarily care for the elderly population and are therefore ideally placed to lead changes to improve the lives of geriatric patients. The Rural Osteopathic Medical Education (ROME) Program partnered with UNTHSC's Center for Geriatrics to create geriatric-focused quality improvement projects (QIPs) for medical students to complete in their family medicine clerkships. Methods: ROME students surveyed rural family physicians regarding geriatric needs in their patient population. The results were analyzed to determine patient clinical needs as well as physician educational needs. Geriatric QIPs were developed from the survey results and implemented into the clinics. Results: 100% of the students stated that they are better able to analyze, collect, and communicate data about quality improvements in practice. 100% of the students stated that they would integrate QIPs into their practices. 67% of the family physicians strongly agreed that QIPs were useful to their practice. Conclusions: Students identified best practices to address the health needs and concerns of older adults and their caregivers. The QIPs improved care for the elderly in addition to providing experience in implementing quality improvement methods that can be used in the students' future medical practices. Incorporating medical students into QIPs in family medicine clinics is valuable for the patients, students, and physicians.

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