Jocelyn H. Schiller,,Ann Arbor,MI,Terry . Kind,,Washington,DC,Gary L. Beck,,Omaha,NE,Heather . McLauchlan,,Peoria,IL,Sherilyn . Smith,,Seattle ,WA,Joseph . Gigante,,Nashville,TN
Background: For results of medical education studies to be generalizable, institutions should collaborate and conduct multi-institutional research. Little is known about factors that contribute to successful collaboration across institutions in medical education. Using a systematic review process, we sought to identify characteristics of published, peer-reviewed multi-institutional medical education research to inform COMSEP members considering multi-institutional research.
Methods: With the assistance of an experienced librarian, we searched Medline and the Education Resources Information Center by using relevant controlled vocabulary terms and key word terms related to multi-institution systems and medical education, including studies published 2003-2013 in English. The project team identified data points to collect including: numbers of learners and institutions; learner type; funding; research methods; research/educational network support. Two authors reviewed each study. Discrepancies in coding were resolved by consensus.
Results: 453 titles were initially identified and 134 articles met inclusion criteria; the preliminary analysis of 91 articles is reported here with plans for full analysis by the COMSEP 2015 meeting. The average number of learners was 848 (range 4-41,866) from an average of 8.8 institutions (range 2-31). Most (58%; n=53) studies included medical residents, followed by medical students (38% ;n=35) and nursing students (13% ;n=12). One inter-professional study included dental residents. 49% (n=45) were funded. 74% (n=67) listed an author with a master’s degree or PhD. 34% (n=31) of studies had an intervention, but only 32% (n=10) of these were randomized. 77% (n=70) of studies used quantitative methods, 13% (n=12) used qualitative and 10% (n=9) used mixed methods. 10% (n=9) involved a research/education network.
Conclusion: Preliminary analysis of published multi-institutional educational scholarship revealed heterogeneity in project type and focus, with most studies done in graduate medical education with the involvement of authors with advanced (MS or PhD) degrees and including large numbers of learners. Half of projects were funded. By identifying characteristics that are common among successfully published multi-institutional studies in medical education, we hope to help guide researchers as they plan for multi-institutional studies and identify opportunities to improve our collaborative networks.