Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and allow us to work faster or smarter; but it has to be the right technology, employed correctly. Too often we find some tech to be “good enough” and try to make it suit our needs. “Good enough” causes us to create Band-Aid solutions and workarounds which can translate to extra work and frustration. Over the years, the School of Medicine has been using a patchwork quilt of commercial and custom educational programs and software, added and modified where needed. We’re getting rid of them for something better.
The School of Medicine is in the process of building VMED, which stands for Virginia Medicine. This is an integrated learning-, curriculum-, and student-management system that is being designed with the specific needs of UVA in mind. We want to provide a seamless experience for students, faculty, and administration. With a system of our own design, we can build it to meet our needs instead of trying to muscle through the constraints of commercial software.
To build VMED, we started with the foundation of the UME NxGen Curriclum, the UVA 12 Competencies for the Contemporary Physician, which are our education program objectives for the MD degree. These competencies drive our educational activities and assessments, and VMED underpins those learning objectives and those, in turn, support our student management, online content delivery, assessments, gradebook, program evaluation, and much more. All of this assists us with our AAMC and LCME reporting and predictive analytics regarding our students’ USMLE performance. VMED, built from the ground up, also provides us with longitudinal data not only to assess our student performance but also provides us with program evaluation data necessary for continuous quality improvement
In simplest terms, we are replacing critical components in the student information system and think it will be a huge improvement for all. Student Source, Oasis, X-Credit, and Faculty Toolbox are a few of the current applications that are being replaced.
The largest pieces of VMED include:
- the online testing system — Three classes of students are now using this.
- a clinical assessment tool for undergraduate medical education — iCAN, which stands for Interactive Clinical Assessment Navigator, is the tool we use for assessing entrustable professional activities (EPA).
- a learning management system for students — A home for resources, schedules, enrollment, and gradebook.
- evaluations — Student-to-student, student-to-faculty, and student-to-course.
- mapping of the curriculum — mapping to the physician competencies, which speaks to our accreditation as a medical school.
Most medical schools are using commercial products or open-source tools to deliver their curriculum to students and to map it for accreditation purposes. We’ll be joining a small community that is developing software from scratch. We’re moving forward with this because of the successes we’ve had with the new testing system and EPA programs — they are proof that we have the resources and the talent in the School of Medicine to build something that will suit our specific needs.
What Does This Mean for You?
We’re working on VMED now. Some modules have been piloted, but we’re also gathering requirements for future modules. The initial release of the learning management system will roll out in August 2018 with iterative releases to come in the months and years to follow.
Faculty who are teaching in the classroom or in the clinic have already seen some of these changes, particularly those using the assessment methodology for EPAs and those using the new online testing system. I hope that VMED will simplify teacher workflow for class preparation, approval of teaching materials, setting up exams, and reviewing student performance, and that it will offer faculty a clear view of how your work supports the physician competencies.
I would like to thank Dr. Megan Bray, Dr. Maryellen Gusic, Kim Holman, Mark Moody, Robert Pastor, Michael Szul, and Dr. Mary Kate Worden for their tireless efforts on VMED. It could not have happened without their hard work.
As more modules of VMED are ready for release, I’ll talk about them here. Stay tuned!
R.J. Canterbury, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Education
Wilford W. Spradlin Professor