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Frequent Fliers Hired to Evaluate Emergency Medicine Residents

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ST. PAUL, MN – Responding to feedback that existing resident assessments were not properly evaluating the attendings of tomorrow in how they adapt to important trends in medicine, the University of Minnesota Emergency Medicine (EM) Residency Program has turned to a source that they say encounters more “day-to-day patient-centered contact” with residents than anyone else in the medical field: Emergency Department (ED) frequent fliers.

em entranceThe plan, according to residency director, Dr. D. Lightful, is to hire these “health care connoisseurs” to fill out formal evaluations of the EM residents in exchange for relief from having to pay back a portion of their medical debts.

“We aren’t at bedside when our residents do their H&Ps and discuss the assessment and plan,” explained Lightful.  “Overall, we rarely get to see hands-on how our trainees truly interact with our patients, especially when we’re in the room for such a small portion of the resident-patient encounter, if at all.  This is a huge hole in our evaluation process.  There is only one group of people who have repeatedly clinically encountered all of our residents and can expertly compare them to one another, and that’s our ED frequent fliers.”

“We also need to acknowledge that the overall trend in medicine is towards optimizing patient satisfaction, more so than providing exceptional clinical care,” he continued.  “What better way to evaluate a resident’s ability to garner high patient satisfaction scores than by collecting feedback from the patients themselves!  Press Ganey and other patient satisfaction metrics must be applied to resident evaluations, like they are applied to attending evaluations, to alert our trainees’ prospective employers that they are capable of navigating the real-world obstacles involved in practicing medicine in the United States.”

Overall, patients are enthusiastic about the proposal.  Frequent ED visitor for chronic back pain, Ms. Constance Dolor, 32, opined, “I thought that last resident did a great job explaining why I shouldn’t get my Dilaudid, but he just didn’t have that ‘likability factor’ like the guy yesterday who gave me 3 shots of Dilaudid and a script for 20 Percs.  Today’s resident gets a 2 out of 5.”

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