The past few days have seen a lot of news regarding the Oakland-based health care company Kaiser Permanente. They’ve recently announced that they will be opening a School of Medicine in 2020 described as “forward-thinking education for tomorrow’s doctors.” Just saying that in itself isn’t a new approach to educating a new generation of healthcare professionals, but there were a few headline-grabbing snippets from their announcement.

The first being something that a lot of upcoming med-school applicants might (definitely will) get excited about: free tuition for students attending the first five classes between 2020 and 2024. Not only free tuition, but no fees and free health insurance while they are in school. While this is most likely to attract potential applicants and establish themselves as a competitor in the space, the potential $240,000 savings over four years is nothing to overlook. The biggest hurdle for future would-be students will be the selective class size, capping at only 48 people per class.

So how does one stand out to become one of the 48 students attending the Kaiser School of Medicine? According to them, you must have a desire “to rethink how medical science can improve the health and well-being of both individual patients and communities at large.” This ethos is reflected in their approach to teaching, and the types of medical professionals they hope to graduate. Kaiser is going all-in on tech providing students the opportunity to utilize “data-driven care” through immersive learning tools including VR and AR. Students will also have clinical experiences beginning the first year of their education to ensure they can be collaborative-ready by the end of their four years. While these types of learning tools aren’t limited to Kaiser, they hope that having them as an integral part of student’s education will better prepare them for the future of medicine.

"We've had the opportunity to build a medical school from the ground up and have drawn from evidence-based educational approaches to develop a state-of-the-art school on the forefront of medical education, committed to preparing students to provide outstanding patient care in our nation's complex and evolving health care system," Mark Schuster, CEO and founding dean of the school.

Thinking Ahead

As we’ve seen across almost every industry thinkable, technology is no longer a question of “if” it will have an impact on the work we do, but rather “where” and “how” it affects that work. The next step in accepting or tech-fueled future is to teach the next generations of professionals how to be prepared for rising technologies and how to best adapt as the technology continues to change. With each new batch of technological advancement comes a new set of problems, and a larger learning curve, for those who start behind the line only creating a tougher road towards success.

To accommodate this ever-changing landscape, many traditional schools are rethinking their offerings, how they teach their students, and what determines success for students. Georgia Tech has gone so far as to rethink what the attendees of their school are even referred to as, and what their role is. Kaiser’s new School of Medicine is hoping to alleviate that separation by preparing its students while they are still in school. Bypassing traditions and “the way it’s always been” mentality allows them to think only of what’s ahead. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they know whether or not their approach will be successful, but it’s an interesting outlook worth keeping your eye on.

About the Author:

Colin is an Associate Director of Innovation helping the team show the way in a changing marketplace. A graphic designer by trade, he comes from a brand marketing background. Colin hopes to continue bringing life to brand’s stories through innovative and attractive new ideas.