How medical schools can use data and analysis to improve accreditation outcomes

It’s the goal of all medical schools to continually improve their accreditation outcomes. To do so requires the ability to see where improvements are needed and then to act upon them. 

Better data governance and analysis can help your entire institution by adding clarity to your collected data and inform actionable improvements. 

About accreditation for medical schools

Accreditation is the process of quality assurance through assessment of the adherence by the institution to a set of standards. It is also intended to foster institutional and program improvement.

Here are some of the many reasons why accreditation is important for MedEd institutions: 

  • status for students to receive federal loans
  • status for schools to receive federal funding for MedEd 
  • reputation, which equals more applicants
  • promotes evaluation (including self-evaluation) and improvement

For example, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accreditation happens every eight years, with an interim review every four years. The process involves the collection and review of data about the school and its education programs and is used to identify institutional strengths as well as issues that require action. 

Best practices for MedEd school data governance to improve accreditation outcomes

How specifically can data help your MedEd institution improve its accreditation outcomes? Here are five ways your school can use data to its advantage when it comes to accreditation. 

Collect useful data in common formats

It’s likely your institution already has access to a lot of pertinent data about your curriculum, programs, and learner outcomes — but do you have a clear, standardized data collection strategy? 

Relying on disparate spreadsheets across multiple channels will make it hard to make sense of that data when it comes time to review and analyze it. There are also data fidelity concerns that arise each time a spreadsheet changes hands or gets updated. Spreadsheets become outdated quickly, especially when there’s no clarity around which is the current version. Some datasets are simply too important to be entrusted to a traditional spreadsheet, as recent headlines have proven

Compiling your data in the formats your stakeholders need will make it much easier to share it with the appropriate parties securely, and allow them make sense of it. 

Report to accreditation committees, faculty, learners and more

When your data is collected in the formats you need, it becomes much easier to distribute it to the appropriate stakeholders. For example, a well-executed data governance strategy and curriculum mapping tools will allow you to map your datasets to the appropriate accreditation standards, using a DCI (data collection instrument). 

Not only is submitting data for accreditation much easier, but you can also display the data that matters to the right stakeholders. For example, faculty or admins can have different permissions than learners, who can access their own performance data in a private dashboard. 

Analyze results with ease, with everything in one place

Whether you are a dean of curriculum who needs to review the teaching types your institution offers, or a dean of assessment reviewing whether learners are being assessed often enough on specific competencies, a more accessible data solution makes it much easier. 

Comparing one learner’s outcomes across multiple sites, multiple programs, or multiple competencies using spreadsheets can quickly become too cumbersome to be time effective. A purpose-built MedEd data governance solution gives your team the access they need, along with the ability to splice or filter the available data as required. 

Take action toward continuous quality improvement

When you can see the big picture, as well as drill down to the finer details of your data as needed, you are much better equipped to take action. 

For example, a dean of UME can report on the grade performance in rotation experiences and clinical skill exposure per rotation, across multiple sites, ensuring the curriculum includes comparable educational experiences at all locations. Any gaps or imbalances can be quickly identified and rectified. 

Better data management saves time and effort for your institution’s entire ecosystem 

With better data management, deans and evaluators can access data and generate reports for curriculum review, student affairs, and learner performance. Learners can access and complete on-demand assessments in a mobile-friendly browser. 

Purpose-built curriculum mapping of objectives and mapping criteria across the curriculum make accreditation activities like AAMC Curriculum Inventory reporting easy, with data fields already mapped to the required standards. 

Learn more about curriculum data mapping and analytics

Acuity’s suite of MedEd data tools is built to comply with the evaluation workflows and requirements of accreditors in the US and Canada. Ask us how our curriculum mapping and analytics can help your institution improve its accreditation outcomes with better data governance. 

To learn more, watch our webinar “Best practices in MedEd data governance and measurement,” or read our case study with NEOMED (Northeast Ohio Medical University).

If you’d like to see how Acuity can help your institution’s accreditation outcomes, request a demo.