Integrated Planning for The Medical School of the Future

The pandemic has forced those involved in learning and research to reassess their methods and rapidly deploy new innovations in training and discovery. Nowhere has this been as profound as in Schools of Medicine.

Emerging from the pandemic, the schools that leverage lessons learned from operating at an unimaginable pace and with so much resilience and creativity will be the ones to lead the field. The question is, “how do we build these new behaviors and processes into the organization so that we continuously raise standards in education and research in the years ahead?”

The answer is integrated strategy

The planning of the past was siloed. Aspects of research, learning, business, operations and facilities were addressed separately. Planning of the future will be integrated – embracing joined up thinking, increased collaboration and data driven decision making.

Even in the midst of the pandemic there are schools that are already reimagining their future by addressing 6 core themes:

1. Synchronized. Organizational improvement can dramatically change the need for space. By aligning the implementation of new processes and polices, innovative activities, new partnerships and service models with optimized resource allocation we can more effectively target the delivery of innovative real estate.

2. Dynamic. Interactive planning tools, driven by live data bases allow us to undertake real time modelling of changes in enrollment, pedagogy, new programs and research expenditures, and see the effect on financial, physical, human and technological resources.

3. Digital. The Global pandemic has forced the adoption of new learning, working research and clinical practices. 1st and 2nd years focus on virtual anatomy and interact with standardized patients on-line, redesigned clerkships involve faculty-guided, didactics and patient videoconferences. Faculty have increased mobility working to anywhere from anywhere.

4. Mission Driven. Colleges of Medicine are increasingly depending on mission focused strategic initiatives and metrics driven goals to define their brand and focus their academic vision. Mission driven planning develops these academic, financial, operational and experiential differentiators into a timeline of metrics-based targets that drive the types and extent of optimal research and learning facilities.

5. Transformative. The pandemic has emphasized the need to reassess traditional programs, curriculum and student support delivery modalities. New approaches to the social determinants of health, public health, population health and telemedicine are driving new forms of interprofessional teaming

6. Outcomes. Medical schools are employers, they support populations and undertake research activity that has major economic and social impact. Outcomes based planning focuses not only the implications that investment decisions have on facilities and infrastructure, but also on regional economics, workforce needs and livability.