Robert M. Califf, MD

Capillaries are so small that it takes ten of them to equal the thickness of a human hair.

As I’m delving into the great things going on at DCRI as we look to the future, one that ties a lot of the effort together is the Center for Educational Excellence (CEE).  The concept that health care providers will need lifelong education after completing fundamental training and graduate medical education is not a new concept.  The question, of course, is “who should be responsible for this”.  What seems to be evolving is a complex maize of professional societies and academic institutions.  The older supposition that the medical products industry should provide education for healthcare providers has fallen into disfavor because of concerns about conflicted presentation of knowledge.

In addition to lifelong education, globalization is another key theme.  Interactive education using the internet and cell phone technology will almost certainly drive future continuing education.   The best materials for basic education will consolidate into a smaller basic set, but this will enable educational entrepreneurs to move from “Education 101″ to “Education 200 and beyond”–taking the basic material and making it much more interactive and specialized.

The third theme is the learning health system concept.  This idea, developed by the IOM, is a modern version of something started here by Eugene Stead in the cardiovascular database.  We can learn continuously from our experience if we collect, coded, analyzable data as part of our routine in healthcare delivery.

We are in a great position to weave these themes together to become an important part of a network that can provide practitioners with what they need to know to generate and consume evidence to enable the best choices for patients.  Our Duke-NUS School of Medicine, the Medanta Duke Research Institute, the Brazilian Clinical Research Institute  and the Duke-Kunshan University give us nodes in a virtual network, reaching the major global population.

At the core of all this, of course, is fundamental high quality and high integrity research and transformation of that research into knowledge that can drive better healthcare.  That will remain the core value of DCRI and its parent organization, DTMI.


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