Healthcare and Life Sciences Predictions 2020


Preparing the doctor of the future

Medical school and residency program evolution

The basic structure of US medical education has hardly changed in the past 100 years. Yet in the 21st century, doctors must navigate a dizzying array of high technology, new regulations, and shifting patient expectations. How can medical schools better prepare the physician of tomorrow?

As the health care market changes, so are the capabilities physicians need to best practice medicine and serve their patients. Medical education is in an era of transformation, and medical schools are beginning to innovate to prepare new physicians for the emerging new model of care.

Findings from the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions’ surveys of physicians, health care consumers, and health system CEOs show that physicians’ expectations are changing. Our analysis found that:

·         Hospital CEOs report needing more innovative leaders and clinicians, as well as employees with technology and data analytics skills.

·         Increasingly, consumers expect to partner with doctors instead of relying passively on them to make treatment decisions.

·         Physicians report anticipating that approximately 50 percent of their total compensation will be paid through value-based payment models in the next 10 years and that they expect to need new business, health information technology (HIT), and communication skills to practice effective value-based care (VBC).

Together, these findings suggest that an evolving market environment is demanding new competencies: business acumen, data analytic skills, and broadened interpersonal relationship skills, including enhanced communication and leadership skills.

As medical school administrators look to accelerate change in the way future physicians practice medicine, they might consider:


·         Looking for funding in unconventional places: This could include partnering with hospital systems, different schools within a university system (that is, business schools, engineering schools, or hospitality schools), or other outside private entities seeking to add value to the health care system. Additionally, the philanthropic sector, while their contributions are typically significantly smaller than those available from public or for-profit funders, has moved to invest in medical research and medical education.

·         Integrating technology into medical education: Acknowledging that technology is changing how care is delivered, medical schools and residency programs could consider incorporating new tools into the curriculum. This could be as simple as allowing the use of tablet technology in the classroom setting or using advanced imaging tools during anatomy courses.

·         Providing experiences beyond hospital or clinic walls: Challenging students or residents to work with stakeholders outside of hospital or clinic-based health services could enhance understanding of the patient and consumer experience. This could include, for instance, helping low-income patients apply for Medicaid or hosting integrated educational experiences with the justice system.

·         Educating students on the financial and regulatory aspects of medical practice: Medical schools and residency programs could consider programs where faculty teach medical students about policy, the basics of health insurance, VBC, the ACA, and Medicare/Medicaid.

·         Implement “train the trainer” programs: Medical school faculty and administrators need to be up to date on the latest trends, tools, and policies affecting their industry in order to effectively train new physicians. Medical schools and residency programs could consider investing in leadership forums, policy seminars, and technology training for their faculty and administrators.

Even if medical school curricula changed overnight, it would only be one step toward addressing the skills needed by all the practicing doctors. Continuing medical education—the ongoing medical education requirements that help physicians maintain their skills and learn about developing areas of their field—could be integral to transforming how existing physicians practice medicine. Health systems and group practices, and their own physician leaders, also will likely need to work to provide ongoing education for practicing physicians.

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