Perspective

Reconsidering the focus on "outcomes research" in medical education: A cautionary note

David Allan Cook, Colin Patrick West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

84 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Researchers in medical education have been placing increased emphasis on "outcomes research," or the observable impact of educational interventions on patient care. However, although patient outcomes are obviously important, they should not be the sole focus of attention in medical education research. The purpose of this perspective is both to highlight the limitations of outcomes research in medical education and to offer suggestions to facilitate a proper balance between learner-centered and patient-centered assessments. The authors cite five challenges to research using patient outcomes in medical education, namely (1) dilution (the progressively attenuated impact of education as filtered through other health care providers and systems), (2) inadequate sample size, (3) failure to establish a causal link, (4) potentially biased outcome selection, and (5) teaching to the test. Additionally, nonpatient outcomes continue to hold value, particularly in theory-building research and in the evaluation of program implementation. To educators selecting outcomes and instruments in medical education research, the authors offer suggestions including to clarify the study objective and conceptual framework before selecting outcomes, and to consider the development and use of behavioral and other intermediary outcomes. Deliberately weighing the available options will facilitate informed choices during the design of research that, in turn, informs the art and science of medical education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-167
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Medicine
Volume88
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013

Fingerprint

Medical Education
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
education
Biomedical Research
Program Evaluation
Health Personnel
Sample Size
Patient Care
Teaching
patient care
Research Design
Research Personnel
Delivery of Health Care
Education
educator
health care
Research
science
evaluation
Values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Education

Cite this

Perspective : Reconsidering the focus on "outcomes research" in medical education: A cautionary note. / Cook, David Allan; West, Colin Patrick.

In: Academic Medicine, Vol. 88, No. 2, 02.2013, p. 162-167.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{94d0f5c9a3614f03b7e2ffe5c78e03b8,
title = "Perspective: Reconsidering the focus on {"}outcomes research{"} in medical education: A cautionary note",
abstract = "Researchers in medical education have been placing increased emphasis on {"}outcomes research,{"} or the observable impact of educational interventions on patient care. However, although patient outcomes are obviously important, they should not be the sole focus of attention in medical education research. The purpose of this perspective is both to highlight the limitations of outcomes research in medical education and to offer suggestions to facilitate a proper balance between learner-centered and patient-centered assessments. The authors cite five challenges to research using patient outcomes in medical education, namely (1) dilution (the progressively attenuated impact of education as filtered through other health care providers and systems), (2) inadequate sample size, (3) failure to establish a causal link, (4) potentially biased outcome selection, and (5) teaching to the test. Additionally, nonpatient outcomes continue to hold value, particularly in theory-building research and in the evaluation of program implementation. To educators selecting outcomes and instruments in medical education research, the authors offer suggestions including to clarify the study objective and conceptual framework before selecting outcomes, and to consider the development and use of behavioral and other intermediary outcomes. Deliberately weighing the available options will facilitate informed choices during the design of research that, in turn, informs the art and science of medical education.",
author = "Cook, {David Allan} and West, {Colin Patrick}",
year = "2013",
month = "2",
doi = "10.1097/ACM.0b013e31827c3d78",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "88",
pages = "162--167",
journal = "Academic Medicine",
issn = "1040-2446",
publisher = "Lippincott Williams and Wilkins",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Perspective

T2 - Reconsidering the focus on "outcomes research" in medical education: A cautionary note

AU - Cook, David Allan

AU - West, Colin Patrick

PY - 2013/2

Y1 - 2013/2

N2 - Researchers in medical education have been placing increased emphasis on "outcomes research," or the observable impact of educational interventions on patient care. However, although patient outcomes are obviously important, they should not be the sole focus of attention in medical education research. The purpose of this perspective is both to highlight the limitations of outcomes research in medical education and to offer suggestions to facilitate a proper balance between learner-centered and patient-centered assessments. The authors cite five challenges to research using patient outcomes in medical education, namely (1) dilution (the progressively attenuated impact of education as filtered through other health care providers and systems), (2) inadequate sample size, (3) failure to establish a causal link, (4) potentially biased outcome selection, and (5) teaching to the test. Additionally, nonpatient outcomes continue to hold value, particularly in theory-building research and in the evaluation of program implementation. To educators selecting outcomes and instruments in medical education research, the authors offer suggestions including to clarify the study objective and conceptual framework before selecting outcomes, and to consider the development and use of behavioral and other intermediary outcomes. Deliberately weighing the available options will facilitate informed choices during the design of research that, in turn, informs the art and science of medical education.

AB - Researchers in medical education have been placing increased emphasis on "outcomes research," or the observable impact of educational interventions on patient care. However, although patient outcomes are obviously important, they should not be the sole focus of attention in medical education research. The purpose of this perspective is both to highlight the limitations of outcomes research in medical education and to offer suggestions to facilitate a proper balance between learner-centered and patient-centered assessments. The authors cite five challenges to research using patient outcomes in medical education, namely (1) dilution (the progressively attenuated impact of education as filtered through other health care providers and systems), (2) inadequate sample size, (3) failure to establish a causal link, (4) potentially biased outcome selection, and (5) teaching to the test. Additionally, nonpatient outcomes continue to hold value, particularly in theory-building research and in the evaluation of program implementation. To educators selecting outcomes and instruments in medical education research, the authors offer suggestions including to clarify the study objective and conceptual framework before selecting outcomes, and to consider the development and use of behavioral and other intermediary outcomes. Deliberately weighing the available options will facilitate informed choices during the design of research that, in turn, informs the art and science of medical education.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84873414152&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84873414152&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31827c3d78

DO - 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31827c3d78

M3 - Article

VL - 88

SP - 162

EP - 167

JO - Academic Medicine

JF - Academic Medicine

SN - 1040-2446

IS - 2

ER -