Commentary |

Clinical Gist and Medical Education:  Connecting the Dots

Farrell J. Lloyd, MD, MPH; Valerie F. Reyna, PhD
JAMA. 2009;302(12):1332-1333. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1383.
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There is little evidence that continuing medical education improves practicing physicians' clinical reasoning and the quality of care.1 The central roles of medical education include helping clinicians assimilate new knowledge and assessing clinicians' performance. Although electronic sources can deliver information quickly, human cognitive processes do not allow clinicians to encode all the information into memory promptly and predictably at the point of care (including approximately 1500 articles indexed daily by the National Library of Medicine).2 When learning new information, humans rely on 2 types of memory: verbatim and gist.2,3Verbatim representations capture the literal facts or “surface form” of information (eg, that a cardiac syndrome is called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy), whereas gist representations capture its meaning or interpretation (eg, that the syndrome may be elicited by stress in the absence of coronary artery disease).

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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