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The Art and Practice of High Value Care: An Online Discussion-Based Course for Medical Students & Health Leaders

Last Updated: August 31, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for medical practitioners and learners at all stages to think critically about the way things are always done in healthcare and the myriad ways we can do them better. In May 2020, two third year medical students at UNC School of Medicine spearheaded and facilitated a comprehensive, 4-week virtual elective on the principles and practice of value-based medicine, which is delivering care that maximizes the outcomes that matter to patients per total costs of care. Through this course, students learned to define High Value Care, compared innovative practice models, practiced communication strategies for bringing value to their patients, and critiqued alternative payment models. The discussion-based format completely facilitated by medical students allowed for fruitful, thoughtful discussion. That the course was completely student-driven and student-led added to its success overall. Additionally, each week featured a guest lecturer from the home institution who spoke on topics related to that course's themes. This particular element to the course was extremely well-received by students who commented that hearing directly from local health care leaders was helpful for realizing their own potential in the High Value Care space. The course's syllabus is now available for immediate use and deployment at any institution. While this was organized as a 20-hour, 4-week elective, it can be adopted into any number of formats, virtual or in-person; and students at all phases of their clinical training can benefit and contribute to class discussions. The course is a curated compilation of existing materials from leaders in the High Value Care space, including Dr. Chris Moriates at Dell Medical School, Costs of Care, ABIM Foundation, High Value Practice Academic Alliance (HVPAA), among others. The course's website provides survey evaluation tools, facilitator guides, assignment instructions, links to the recorded guest lectures, and suggestions for class organization. 


Emily Fink, BA, UNC School of Medicine (emily_fink@med.unc.edu)
Elexis Hollingsworth, BA, UNC School of Medicine