Teaching Quality Measurement and Improvement, Cost-effectiveness, and Patient Satisfaction in Undergraduate Medical Education: The UME-21 Experience

Bruce E. Gould, Mark T. O'Connell, Margaret T. Russell, Catherine F. Pipas, Fredrick A. McCurdy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: The health care system in the United States is changing at an ever-increasing rate. Recent reports by the Institute of Medicine raising concerns regarding rates of medical errors and suggesting the need for reengineering of the health care delivery system have focused attention on the need for quality measurement and improvement. Methods: We abstracted data from final written reports submitted by 18 Undergraduate Medical Education for the 21st Century (UME-21) schools, as well as other materials available from participating UME-21 schools. Specific curricular innovations developed and implemented were identified. Additionally, senior medical students' responses to the annual Graduation Questionnaire administered by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) were available for analysis. The change from 1999 to 2001 in the proportion of seniors rating instruction in quality assurance as adequate was compared among four groups of UME-21 schools and the other 107 US medical schools. Results: Eleven of the 18 schools specifically addressed the content areas of quality measurement and improvement, including utilization management (27% of schools), cost-effectiveness (45% of schools), use of clinical practice guidelines (73% of schools), and patient satisfaction assessment (45% of schools). Each school developed unique approaches and educational materials pertinent to the content area. Overall, the percentage of seniors rating the relative amount of instructional time devoted to quality assurance in medicine by their school's curriculum as adequate or better rose from 49% to 66% between 1999 and 2001 at the 11 UME-21 schools that introduced initiatives in quality improvement into their curricula. This change was significantly higher than the pattern at other US medical schools between 1999 and 2001, at which seniors' ratings rose only from 43% to 56%. Conclusions: Curriculum development and implementation addressing quality improvement in medical practice accelerate improvement of students' perception that their education has adequately addressed this subject area. This article summarizes some of the experiences, curricular approaches, successes, failures, and lessons learned in quality improvement by schools participating in the UME-21 project.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S57-S62
JournalFamily medicine
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Family Practice


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