Basic Science Saves the Day:  Using Integrated Teaching Tools to Support Safe Clinical Decision Making and Ensure Better Patient Care

Leslie Fall, Aquifer, Inc and Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire, USA
James Nixon, University of Minnesota School of Medicine, USA
Amy Wilson-Delfosse, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, USA

Background:  Effective cognitive integration of core basic science concepts into undergraduate clinical education and practice remains a significant problem, despite evidence suggesting that basic science is critical for clinical reasoning and diagnosis. Historically, clinical educators often feel unprepared to “unpack” their encapsulated basic science knowledge in the midst of patient care teaching. Similarly, basic science educators feel underprepared to articulate how their area of expertise relates to routine clinical practice and decision-making.

New conceptual learning models and tools are now emerging to assist faculty in promoting better integration of basic sciences with
clinical reasoning with the goal of helping students improve the decisions that they make for their patients.

Learning Objectives

  • Cite evidence supporting the use of ‘integrated’ illness scripts (IIS) and mechanism of disease (MOD) maps for teaching clinical reasoning and medical decision-making.

  • Create an IIS and MOD map for a common clinical condition in collaboration with basic science and clinical colleagues.

  • Negotiate common barriers to collaborative development of integrated curricular materials.

Structure of workshop: The workshop will begin with an interactive discussion focusing on barriers to integrating basic science with clinical teaching (20 min). A didactic will briefly review literature and describe two pedagogical strategies to help learners integrate basic science with clinical decision making (15 min). Participants will then work in teams to develop an ‘integrated’ illness script and a mechanism of disease map that illustrates the underlying basic science underpinnings a common clinical condition (45 min). The session will conclude with a discussion about using this methodology at the participants’ own institutions (15 min).

Take Home Messages: Our workshop will prompt educators to design new methods for integrated teaching and learning at their home institution. Participants will leave the session with the experience, templates and worked examples needed to develop their own materials.

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