Professional Responsibility in Medical Practice: Online Course Pilot Study

Anne J. Gunderson, Ed.D., GNP, Lisa Anderson-Shaw, Dr.PH, MA, MSN, Kelly M. Smith, Ph.D

University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, University of Illinois Chicago


Professional responsibility in medicine has been increasingly recognized as a key target for raising the quality of health care provided around the world. The Professional Responsibility in Medical Error and Transparency (PRMET) course, funded through the Center for Professionalism in Business and Society, was developed to facilitate the creation of safe and effective health care systems through the continued development of physicians dedicated to the reduction of medical error and increased system transparency. Curricular content was developed to emphasize training in the major fields of patient safety, quality improvement, communication/collaboration, error science, process improvement, and ethical principles in clinical practice as it relates to medical error. This online course is intended for use in undergraduate and/or graduate medical education and was designed on the principles of collaborative learning, constructivism, and active participation, as well as sharing of thoughts and problem solving.

The PRMET course consisted of six (6) online modules, requiring approximately 5 hours to complete each module for a total of 30 hours. The modules were developed to significantly advance learners knowledge and skill related to professional responsibility, transparency and error science using a variety of approaches including patient case studies, problem-based learning, research and knowledge building, and evidence-based practice. The course was piloted twice over a two week period Winter 2009 with 30 fourth year students. Individual activities during the completion of each module included self-study, reading, and written responses to discussion questions in each module. Program evaluation utilized course logs, pre/post surveys and focus groups for the purposes of a) assessment of student achievement as compared to the learning objectives for the program; b) examination of learner and faculty satisfaction with the course, module, and teaching methods; and c) provision of feedback for course revision. Overall, students responded favorably to both the content and online, interactive delivery of the course, and students demonstrated an improvement in self-efficacy for professional responsibility related to patient safety and quality improvement. Recommendations for course revision included increased case-based discussions and a reduction of required readings. Course revision and publication will be completed after final data analysis.

Published Page Numbers: 69