Cost and value in medical education: how will we know whether educational interventions are value for money?

  • Date: 28 Apr 2014
  • Start Time: 09:30 am
  • Location/venue: Royal Free Hospital, Pond St, London NW3 2QG, United Kingdom, NW3 2QG

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Medical education is expensive. World spending on the education of healthcare professionals is about £61 billion per year. In the UK alone the annual national spend on the education of healthcare professionals is £4.8 billion. This includes the education of nurses and allied healthcare professionals as well as doctors and also accounts for undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education. But how this spend breaks down is more difficult to assess. The annual spend on undergraduate education of would-be doctors in the UK is one billion pounds but after that the figures start to become vague – no one knows for example how much is spent on continuing medical education in the UK; no one knows how much is spent on problem based learning curricula as opposed to traditional curricula.

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But how this spend breaks down is more difficult to assess. The annual spend on undergraduate education of would-be doctors in the UK is one billion pounds but after that the figures start to become vague – no one knows for example how much is spent on continuing medical education in the UK; no one knows how much is spent on problem based learning curricula as opposed to traditional curricula. The “effectiveness” of different forms of medical education is also difficult to assess – even though a massive amount of progress has been made in the past thirty years to work out what forms of medical education work best. Contributors to the evidence base in medical education have given comprehensive accounts of what constitutes evidence based and effective learning in a variety of different contexts. We know what is likely to be best practice in various sub-disciplines such as simulation, small group teaching, mentoring and assessment – to name but a few. Assessment is a good case in point – years ago medical students sat examinations and passed or failed often on the whim of an examiner. Today we know that a good assessment is valid, reliable, fair, and feasible and has a positive impact on the behaviour of learners. Medical educational research is still in its infancy and there is still a long way to go but we have made progress and we know more now than ever before about what constitutes good practice. But when the criteria of cost and value are put side by side, then there is a gaping hole in the literature. There are few reviews of the cost and value of medical education. The reviews that have been done generally bemoan the lack of high quality original research on which they can base their conclusions. Thus far there is only one book on the cost effectiveness of medical education and although it shows the state of play in this field most of the conclusions drawn by experts are based on consensus opinion or empirical data rather that high quality research that has cost as well as value as its primary outcome. So there is much work to be done.

Image of John SandarsThe purpose of this workshop is to develop the skills of delegates in the field of cost and value in medical education. At the end, they should be ready to return to their own institution to evaluate the ideas in practice.

Keynote: John Sandars is Associate Professor in the Leeds Institute of Medical Education and has a major research and development interest in the effective and efficient use of technology to enhance teaching and learning across the continuum of medical education, from undergraduate to continuing professional development. A particular area of interest is personalisation of learning, especially though the use of informal approaches and new technologies.

 Keynote: Professor Jane Dacre is Director of UCL Medical School in London. She is a former Academic Vice President of the Royal College of Physicians and is currently the Medical Director of the MRCP(UK) examination. Jane’s main research interest is assessment. She has designed several high profile exams and currently leads a research consultancy on the development of the tests of competence for the UK General Medical Council's (GMC) Fitness to Practise Procedures. She was a member of the Council of the GMC in 2009- 2012.

This is a free one day event. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. This event is for academic staff who are active in medical teaching. A full programme will be available closer to the event, however it should be noted that this workshop will be require active delegate participation. Registration will be from 9:00am for a 9.30 start and will close at 16:30.

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Post event information

Cost and value in medical education - Kieran Walsh (no images)

Cost and value in elearning - John Sandars

Measuring and reporting costs - Kieran Walsh (no images)