Web-based curriculum improves residents' business knowledge

February 3, 2011

Surgery residents improved their knowledge of health care business concepts and principles with the use of a Web-based curriculum, according to a recent study.

Surgery residents improved their knowledge of health care business concepts and principles with the use of a Web-based curriculum, according to a recent study.

"Residents have told us they lack instruction in practice management and the business of health care and feel underprepared for when they leave the training environment," said lead author Linnea S. Hauge, PhD, of the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor. "Given the growing time restrictions in surgery training, the flexibility of Web-based learning is attractive to both surgical educators and residents."

Twenty-eight postgraduates in their third to sixth year as general and plastic surgery residents were enrolled in the program. Twenty-two residents (79%) completed the pre-test, 11 modules, the post-test, and the course evaluation by the end of 1 year. The pre-test and post-test consisted of 30-item multiple-choice exams based on a blueprint of the curricular objectives.

The study found that residents’ performance on the multiple-choice exam improved significantly from the pre-test (mean 59%) to the post-test (mean 78%), with an average gain of 19 percentage points. Participants rated their Web-based learning experience as very positive, with a majority of residents agreeing that the content was well organized, relevant, and an excellent learning experience based around content not taught elsewhere in medical school or residency.

Results from the study were published in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (2010; 211:777-83).