Effect of a high value care curriculum on standardized patient exam in the Core Clerkship in Internal Medicine

Amit K. Pahwa, Kevin Eaton, Ariella Apfel, Amanda Bertram, Rebecca Ridell, Danelle Cayea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: With almost 20% unnecessary spending on healthcare, there has been increasing interest in high value care defined as the best care for the patient, with the optimal result for the circumstances, delivered at the right price. The American Association of Medical Colleges recommend that medical students are proficient in concepts of cost-effective clinical practice by graduation, thus leading to curricula on high value care. However little is published on the effectiveness of these curricula on medical students’ ability to practice high value care. Methods: In addition to the standard curriculum, the intervention group received two classroom sessions and three virtual patients focused on the concepts of high value care. The primary outcome was number of tests and charges for tests on standardized patients. Results: 136 students enrolled in the Core Clerkship in Internal Medicine and 70 completed the high value care curriculum. There were no significant differences in ordering of appropriate tests (3.1 vs. 3.2 tests/students, p = 0.55) and inappropriate tests (1.8 vs. 2.2, p = 0.13) between the intervention and control. Students in the intervention group had significantly lower median Medicare charges ($287.59 vs. $500.86, p = 0.04) and felt their education in high value care was appropriate (81% vs. 56%, p = 0.02). Conclusions: This is the first study to describe the impact of a high value care curriculum on medical students’ ordering practices. While number of inappropriate tests was not significantly different, students in the intervention group refrained from ordering expensive tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number365
JournalBMC medical education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020


  • Clerkships
  • High value care
  • Medical student
  • Standardized patient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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