Chief Concern | Optimizing Patient Care

Be Reasonable

Learning the art of thinking like a doctor.

The Chief Concern Course and closely affiliated Optimizing Patient Care Curriculum are designed to develop your clinical reasoning skills and help you understand how doctors approach a clinical case.

Medical students in a classroom

By learning how to apply a framework of clinical reasoning that is based on the most up-to-date research surrounding this topic, these courses offer clinical context to what you learn in the Doctoring Course and organ-based sequences. As you gain more scientific knowledge and clinical experience, you learn the process of clinical problem solving, the cornerstone of medicine.

In the modern era, content knowledge is at our fingertips. This makes it that much more important to understand how to approach clinical problem solving and have a method to critically analyze and apply both established medical knowledge and cutting-edge research.

Michael Cole, MD, Assistant Professor, Emergency Medicine, Co-director, Chief Concern Course
Clinical skills exercise

Chief Concern Course

Students review actual patient cases with scientific content that is integrated with your foundational curricular sequences. In small groups led by multidisciplinary faculty, you will learn clinical reasoning following a stepwise evidence-based approach that involves learning how to develop differential diagnoses and utilizing evidence-based medicine to determine how positive and negative predictive values of data obtained from the patient’s history and physical exam affects the likelihood of the diagnoses you are considering. This approach allows you to rationally narrow the number of potential diagnoses and make informed decisions regarding ordering and interpreting diagnostic testing.

Ultimately, every case will end with you practicing and developing your skills around writing a formal assessment and plan for each patient — a skill that you will have to use while a student on the wards and for the rest of your professional career. These sessions are highly interactive and engage technology-based resources and other learning techniques to improve the learner's experience.

Optimizing Patient Care Curriculum (OPCC)

Building on the framework that you learn in Chief Concern, OPCC takes it a step further and takes a deep dive into the intersection of evidence-based medicine and the patient experience which, together, are at the heart of patient-centered care. In this course, you will learn how to critically review research literature for evidence-based data and will discover how to apply it to your patient’s care in their best interest.

These low-stakes, relaxing courses will place you into the role of being a physician in the real world. You may not feel ready yet, but the faculty members have worked tirelessly to create an authentic experience from which you will really feel like a problem-solving physician and detective.

Kaustubh Prabhu, M2