BMC Medical Education
Wilhite JA, Altshuler L, Zabar S, Gillespie C, Kalet A.
Background: Medical Education research suffers from several methodological limitations including too many single institution, small sample-sized studies, limited access to quality data, and insufficient institutional support. Increasing calls for medical education outcome data and quality improvement research have highlighted a critical need for uniformly clean and easily accessible data. Research registries may fill this gap. In 2006, the Research on Medical Education Outcomes (ROMEO) unit of the Program for Medical Innovations and Research (PrMEIR) at New York University's (NYU) Robert I. Grossman School of Medicine established the Database for Research on Academic Medicine (DREAM). DREAM is a database of routinely collected, de-identified undergraduate (UME, medical school leading up to the Medical Doctor degree) and graduate medical education (GME, residency also known as post graduate education leading to eligibility for specialty board certification) outcomes data available, through application, to researchers. Learners are added to our database through annual consent sessions conducted at the start of educational training. Based on experience, we describe our methods in creating and maintaining DREAM to serve as a guide for institutions looking to build a new or scale up their medical education registry.
Results: At present, our UME and GME registries have consent rates of 90% (n = 1438/1598) and 76% (n = 1988/2627), respectively, with a combined rate of 81% (n = 3426/4225). 7% (n = 250/3426) of these learners completed both medical school and residency at our institution. DREAM has yielded a total of 61 individual studies conducted by medical education researchers and a total of 45 academic journal publications.
Conclusion: We have built a community of practice through the building of DREAM and hope, by persisting in this work the full potential of this tool and the community will be realized. While researchers with access to the registry have focused primarily on curricular/ program evaluation, learner competency assessment, and measure validation, we hope to expand the output of the registry to include patient outcomes by linking learner educational and clinical performance across the UME-GME continuum and into independent practice. Future publications will reflect our efforts in reaching this goal and will highlight the long-term impact of our collaborative work.
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