, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 16-20

Ambulatory-Based Education in Internal Medicine: Current Organization and Implications for Transformation. Results of A National Survey of Resident Continuity Clinic Directors

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Many have called for ambulatory training redesign in internal medicine (IM) residencies to increase primary care career outcomes. Many believe dysfunctional, clinic environments are a key barrier to meaningful ambulatory education, but little is actually known about the educational milieu of continuity clinics nationwide.

OBJECTIVE

We wished to describe the infrastructure and educational milieu at resident continuity clinics and assess clinic readiness to meet new IM-RRC requirements.

DESIGN

National survey of ACGME accredited IM training programs.

PARTICIPANTS

Directors of academic and community-based continuity clinics.

RESULTS

Two hundred and twenty-one out of 365 (62%) of clinic directors representing 49% of training programs responded. Wide variation amongst continuity clinics in size, structure and educational organization exist. Clinics below the 25th percentile of total clinic sessions would not meet RRC-IM requirements for total number of clinic sessions. Only two thirds of clinics provided a longitudinal mentor. Forty-three percent of directors reported their trainees felt stressed in the clinic environment and 25% of clinic directors felt overwhelmed.

LIMITATIONS

The survey used self reported data and was not anonymous. A slight predominance of larger clinics and university based clinics responded. Data may not reflect changes to programs made since 2008.

CONCLUSIONS

This national survey demonstrates that the continuity clinic experience varies widely across IM programs, with many sites not yet meeting new ACGME requirements. The combination of disadvantaged and ill patients with inadequately resourced clinics, stressed residents, and clinic directors suggests that many sites need substantial reorganization and institutional commitment.New paradigms, encouraged by ACGME requirement changes such as increased separation of inpatient and outpatient duties are needed to improve the continuity clinic experience.