Setting educational priorities for learning the concepts of population health
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Following the World Health Organization's policy of 'Health for All by the Year 2000', doctors are increasingly being seen as health care providers to populations of patients, in addition to their more traditional role as doctors to individuals in a one-to-one encounter. In order for doctors to take on this expanded role, they must learn the knowledge and skills appropriate to population health. In this paper, we propose a method of educational priority-setting which allows educational planners to identify those diseases and adverse health conditions most appropriate for studying the concepts of population health. Using the Measurement Iterative Loop of Tugwell and colleagues as a framework, a table of Priority Illness Conditions was developed and compared with a previous priority list developed from a survey of clinical teachers at the McMaster University Medical School. Discussion of the implications for this approach in setting educational priorities at undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education levels is presented, along with a review of possible shortcomings and caveats in using this approach.
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