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Informatics drives innovative School of Medicine program

By Carole Bartoo
January 2010

A pilot program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is using high-level informatics to enhance students’ learning during third- and fourth-year rotations.

The program, called Vanderbilt Core Clinical Curriculum (VC3), uses technology to document each student’s exposure to 25 carefully selected core medical problems to ensure they become well-prepared physicians.

“It was important that we devise learning objectives for a list of problems that each student should master by the end of medical school,” said program co-designer Anderson Spickard III, M.D., M.S., associate professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics and director of medical clerkships for the Department of Medicine.

“It isn’t everything they need to know, but if they know these, they will know a lot of medicine.”

Key elements of VC3 are:

• Students’ Star Panel patient notes from inpatient and outpatient rotations are copied to a program in Vanderbilt’s Knowledge Map called “KM Portfolio.”

• Concepts in each note are automatically captured and matched to the 25 problems (examples include chest pain, trauma, altered mental status and abdominal pain).

• Master clinical teachers act as mentors to review the competency experiences with students throughout the year.

• Computerized reports help determine the extent of exposure to core clinical problems and a student’s proficiency in each core problem.

“Using information from VC3 we can track students’ exposure to areas of competencies and tailor experience and teaching to meet students’ needs,” Spickard said.

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