Purpose: For generations there have been warnings of the need to reform medical education at all levels. Today the voices pushing reform are louder, the need is greater, and there is an urgency not seen before. Approaches that have worked in the past to train physicians are no longer as relevant today as demographics, disease patterns, human resources, practice behaviors, technology, and attention to costs demand new collaborative approaches to clinical practice. To prepare for this practice tomorrow’s doctors will need a different type of educational model, a different type of learning, in different environments, often taught by different faculty. This paper provides one innovative approach to redefine “academic medicine”. Methods: After reviewing current trends in medical education, this paper describes one approach being taken by a large nonprofit American health care system to move medical education and discovery (research) out of traditional academic universities and placing it within a health care delivery system. Conclusions: The creation of a learning laboratory in a high functioning health care delivery system allows for leveraging the successes in quality health care delivery to transform medical education with a focus on prevention, improving health care quality, reducing disparities in health, and promoting practical evidence-based clinical and outcomes focused research.
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