Med Teach. 2023 Jul 18:1-7. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2023.2232097. Online ahead of print.
High-value care is what patients deserve and what healthcare professionals should deliver. However, it is not what happens much of the time. Quality improvement master Dr. Don Berwick argued more than two decades ago that American healthcare needs an escape fire, which is a new way of seeing and acting in a crisis situation. While coined in the U.S. context, the analogy applies in other Western healthcare contexts as well. Therefore, in this paper, the authors revisit Berwick's analogy, arguing that medical education can, and should, provide the spark for such an escape fire across the globe. They assert that medical education can achieve this by fully embracing competency-based medical education (CBME) as a way to place medicine's focus on the patient. CBME targets training outcomes that prepare graduates to optimize patient care. The authors use the escape fire analogy to argue that medical educators must drop long-held approaches and tools; treat CBME implementation as an adaptive challenge rather than a technical fix; demand genuine, rich discussions and engagement about the path forward; and, above all, center the patient in all they do.