A single, universal education system for newly minted physicians entering their first jobs as interns and residents is being developed as the governing bodies for osteopathic and allopathic doctors team up to train medical school graduates.
For the nation’s physician workforce, it’s a big deal and it will have an impact on the hundreds of doctors being trained in the Roanoke region. Those most affected will likely be osteopathic doctors who graduate from places such as the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg.
For years, osteopathic doctors, those designated with a D.O., have had two options for training after they graduate medical school: They could either enter programs governed by the American Osteopathic Association, or they could join their allopathic colleagues, those with the more recognized M.D. credentials, in one of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education programs.
Many doctors of osteopathy bounced between the two programs, doing a one-year internship in a program accredited by the AOA, then signing up for residency governed by the ACGME. Or doing an osteopathic residency program and then seeking a specialty fellowship accredited by ACGME.
Under the unified system that will be developed between now and July 2015, all of those programs will merge and have one identical accreditation process. Many of the details still need to be worked out, but Dr. Dixie Tooke-Rawlins, dean of VCOM, said it will improve the quality, cost and consistency of medical education in the country.
“The end result is, it will benefit the country … to have one system working and tasking for one goal of higher quality, more efficient health care,” she said.
She added that the unified system could also improve efforts to create new educational opportunities, because hospitals that seek to host these programs will only have to follow one accreditation standard instead of picking between the two, or following two separate set of guidelines. Finally, she said it will make evaluating the effectiveness of medical education better.
“This is a watershed moment for medical training in the U.S,” said Thomas Nasca, CEO of ACGME, in a news release.