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  • Author
    Kenneth Kim
  • Co-author

    Samuel Lewis, Vivek Shah

  • Title

    Build-A-Care Workshop: A Novel Gamification of Health Systems Concepts in the Instruction of Trainees in Global Models of Care

  • Abstract


    Both here at DGSOM and in medical schools across the nation, Health Policy and Systems knowledge has been identified by many students and educators alike as integral to the understanding and practice of medicine in the 21st  century. Despite its importance, however, many medical schools including DGSOM still have yet to integrate a robust and engaging curriculum in health systems and policy. The medical education literature has for many years favored the “flipped classroom” model, and so the authors sought to develop a “game-like” exercise to teach the concepts of global and comparative models of health care delivery as one component in a potential robust health systems and policy curriculum.


    The authors devised an exercise that divided students into small groups and had these groups design an “ideal” health care delivery system based on a set of predetermined variables. For the second half of the exercise, students were invited to present their systems and debate their strengths and weaknesses with the group and a panel of expert moderators. After discussion, moderators would assign a score to the systems based on a predetermined set of characteristics.

    The authors then sought to test the execution of such an exercise and so recruited 8 first and second-year medical students to participate in a trial run. After the trial run, qualitative feedback was solicited and integrated into the plan for any future pilot or established curriculum activity.


    Little quantitative information was obtained due to the nature of the exercise, however the exercise itself was met with positive qualitative feedback from participants. Many felt that the gamification and team-based nature of the exercise was helpful in both teaching health policy concepts and making them more accessible to new learners. Feedback also included the importance of “tutors” or “guides” to help groups understand concepts during the exercise and a comprehensive debrief in the form of a lecture.


    While this pilot project was limited in its small scale and in that it was not a scientifically rigorous study, the authors feel that the exercise devised (or one with similar parameters and timeframes) would work extremely well if implemented in a group of medical trainees, even in policy-naïve learners. By participating in this exercise, learners will begin to appreciate not only the variety seen in global models of care, but also the complexities and tradeoffs involved with each component of the health care system. They feel this exercise would work best in combination with easily-digestible pre-readings and a comprehensive debriefing lecture that would show how models of care in other countries might compare to those devised by the groups in the exercise.

    The authors would be excited to work with medical student and resident educators in implementing a larger-scale pilot project within a medical school or resident conference curriculum along with more rigorous data collection to evaluate the efficacy of such an exercise. We hope this exercise is a strong initial step in the development and integration of robust and engaging curricula in health systems and policy in medical schools and residency programs throughout the nation.

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