The MU team that earned first place in the CLARION National Interprofessional Team Case Competition (from left) Wesley Trueblood, a fourth-year medical student; Cindy Thomas, a public health graduate student; Robert DeGraaff, PhD, assistant professor and director of graduate studies for the Department of Health Management and Informatics (HMI); Sahil Hebbar, an HMI graduate student; and Jennifer Dine, a graduate student in the Sinclair School of Nursing.
MU Students Earn Top Honors in National Patient Safety Competition
CLARION case contest emphasizes teamwork to improve health care outcomes
Three-year-old Rafael Santos arrived at a Chicago hospital after a small coin he swallowed got stuck in his throat. Six weeks and $750,000 later, Rafael returned home to his parents. How could health care professionals have prevented the family's unnecessary suffering and expenses? That's the question a winning team of MU students answered at the CLARION National Interprofessional Team Case Competition in April.
Four students from the University of Missouri represented different parts of the health care team – Wesley Trueblood, a fourth-year medical student; Jennifer Dine, a graduate student in the Sinclair School of Nursing; Cindy Thomas, a public health graduate student, and Sahil Hebbar, a graduate student in the medical school's health management and informatics department. Together they brought home first place and a $6,000 team scholarship in the competition that included eight other universities from across the nation.
Each team was given the same patient case, instructed to create a presentation analyzing the case and asked to give quality improvement recommendations using a multidisciplinary approach. The teams then presented their findings to a panel of judges, who evaluated each presentation in the context of real-world standards of practice.
Dine, the nursing student, said the students worked together to identify sentinel events, or factors that place a patient at increased risk for injury.
"It was interesting to see what each of the different areas brought to analyzing the case," Dine said. "Each of us had something unique to contribute."
Trueblood said working with other MU team members allowed him to see other health professionals' perspectives, but it wasn't something entirely new to him because of the School of Medicine problem-based learning curriculum.
"We work in small groups from day one until we graduate," Trueblood said. "We even do case analysis like this as an interprofessional activity with nursing students."
A 10-year study on the curriculum, published in Academic Medicine
, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, showed that MU medical students significantly outscore a majority of their peers on licensing exams and residency reviews. Other interprofessional training now involves the medical school's Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Clinical Simulation Center, which houses advanced patient mannequins and simulated clinical facilities.
Concerns regarding the quality of care and patient safety in health care were raised following an Institute of Medicine report in 1999. According to the report, as many as 98,000 Americans might die each year due to medical errors. With a lack of communication cited as one possible cause of the errors, interprofessional education has emerged at the forefront of health care curricula nationwide.
Robert DeGraaff, PhD, the MU group's faculty adviser and assistant professor and director of graduate studies for the health management and informatics department, said MU students worked together to go beyond other schools with their clinical and financial analysis of the case.
"Their explication of the sentinel event, quality of root cause analysis, thoughtfulness of recommendations, application of evidence-based practice, thoroughness of financial analysis, and overall professionalism all contributed to their first-place case analysis and presentation," DeGraaff said. "One of the really valuable things about the CLARION competition and experience is the importance of interprofessional collaboration and learning from each of the other professions."
The CLARION National Interprofessional Case Competition is an extension of the University of Minnesota's regional case competition designed for health care professional students. The local case competitions expanded to the national interprofessional team case competition in 2005. The teams that competed in 2009 included: Creighton University; Dartmouth Medical School; Medical University of South Carolina; University of Kansas and Wichita State University; University of Kentucky; University of Missouri; University of Tennessee; and the University of Minnesota.