The American Medical Association is calling on medical schools and residency programs to include specific information about healthcare financing in their curriculums.
The policy, which was adopted this week by AMA delegates at their interim meeting in San Diego, expands upon the AMA's ongoing work to reform medical and residency education programs across the U.S. The AMA is recommending medical schools and residency programs address areas such as various payment models, cost-effective use of diagnostic and treatment services, risk management and quality assurance.
Although accrediting bodies for both medical schools and residency programs currently require healthcare financing content be included in curricula, the AMA argues the current requirements don't go far enough. The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which accredits medical schools in the U.S., asks medical schools to document where in the curriculum healthcare finance is taught, but the schools aren't asked to offer the education materials provided or the subject matter addressed, according to the AMA's reference committee report.
"It has become clear that future physicians require further instruction to ensure they are well-prepared to deliver care to patients in modern health systems," Dr. Barbara McAneny, the AMA's immediate past president, said in a statement.
Awareness and understanding about the cost of care and how to reduce spending have increasingly become critical expectations for doctors as healthcare expenditures and patient's out-of-pocket costs rise.
The Association of American Medical Colleges, which represents medical schools and teaching hospitals in the U.S., workers closely with the AMA, according to Dr. Susan Skochelak, AMA's chief academic officer, in an email.
AAMC members have also made efforts to change how doctors are trained, said Dr. Alison Whelan, chief medical education officer, in an email.
"AAMC recognizes that the healthcare landscape is constantly evolving and our member medical schools are regularly working to update curricula to meet those needs," she said.
The AMA has been heavily involved in changing medical education since 2013 when it announced its Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium. There are now 37 medical schools involved in the group that agree to change aspects of their curriculum to better prepare future doctors for the evolving healthcare landscape. Last year, the AMA announced it made a similar commitment with residency programs.