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In January, 2006, a task force of Texas Chiropractic College (TCC) faculty and administrators initiated the TCC Graduate Project in response to a charge by the TCC Curriculum Committee to identify the essential abilities of graduates to practice effectively in a changing health care environment.
An environmental scan and literature review was undertaken to identify important trends and drivers for change.
An important educational trend is the emergence of outcomes-based education which is characterized by a focus on the product (competencies) and learning outcomes. A key driver is the accountability movement in education.
Another trend is evidence-based care. This approach to practice integrates clinical judgment and proficiency with the best available external clinical evidence from relevant research in the context of individual patient preferences, values, and predicaments. Drivers for evidence-based care includes the business community, government agencies, consumer groups, third party payers, and the academic community.
An additional trend is the focus on patient-centered care which emphasizes patients’ needs and feelings and provides for better understanding of the impact of health care decisions on patients’ lives. Drivers for patient-centered care include patient advocacy groups and health professions educators.
A rapidly developing trend is health care informatics. This field deals with resources, devices and methods for optimizing the storage, retrieval and management of health information for problem solving and decision making. Drivers include technology advances, third party payers, the Federal Government, the academic community and consumer groups.
There is an emerging trend toward integrative health care which fosters interprofessional collaboration, communication and respect between and among health professionals. Drivers for integrative health care include consumer demand, the military and Veteran’s Administration, and Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) clinics.
Changing trends in population demographics have identified the need for special populations care for such groups as the elderly and the underserved.
Professionalism refers to the ability to carry out professional responsibilities, adhere to ethical principles and be sensitive to a diverse patient population. The topic of professionalism is generating a lot of discussion among regulatory boards and in the academic community.
The environmental scan and literature review identified the importance of quality improvement in health care. Drivers for quality improvement includes consumer groups, government agencies, the business community, and the academic community.
Finally, professional development and practice-based learning are increasingly being discussed by regulatory boards and the academic community as an important issue. This includes the ability to assess one’s own patient care to identify learning needs and to develop a learning plan for improvement.