CINCINNATI—The Cincinnati Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center and University of Cincinnati have been selected by the Office of Academic Affiliations at the National Department of Veterans Affairs for the Chief Resident in Quality and Patient Safety Initiative.
This initiative, unique in the region, provides continuing funding to train a physician for one year, following completion of accredited training in internal medicine or a subspecialty, to focus on principles of quality improvement and safety improvements for patients. The Cincinnati VA is only one of 13 VA sites nationally to have such a fellowship.
The grant will provide salary support for the trainee as well as programmatic support for the Cincinnati VA and UC. The first resident will begin July 2013.
"This is quite an exciting opportunity to enhance the training we are delivering to physicians at the UC College of Medicine and at the Cincinnati VA,” says Charuhas Thakar, MD, associate professor of medicine at UC, chief of the renal section at the Cincinnati VA and principal investigator/director of this program, along with co-investigator George Smulian, MD, professor and chair of UC’s division of infectious diseases. "Out of 23 applications from across the U.S., we were selected.”
Thakar says the health care delivery model is changing, and therefore, the training given to new physicians needs to change.
"There is a paradigm shift from a ‘pay for service’ to a ‘pay for performance’ model in which physicians are required to meet certain standards in the health of their patients and the ways in which the system delivers and tracks care,” he says. "Many physicians stand to experience a ‘culture shock’ following their completion of residency due to these modifications. Much of our current training is based on understanding the patho-physiology and treatment of a disease. We need a concerted effort to blend principles of quality improvement and patient safety within the fabric of clinical training and practice.
"This initiative is one of the first steps in altering and bettering the way we educate physicians to think about longitudinal care, and the VA is a great place to do this because they are already pioneering a number of programs focused on patient-centered, quality-based care.”
Besides the VA and UC, this initiative will use resources and strengths from the Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, UC’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science and Training (CCTST) and other local and regional resources.
In addition, participants will be involved in mentored quality improvement-based research and will be expected to be involved in various "area-specific” teaching activities within UC’s department of internal medicine.
"The strong cross collaboration within the institution will help us enrich the position, recruit competitive candidates and enhance our curriculum while imparting very necessary skills to these physicians,” Thakar says.