The US healthcare delivery system is in a state of change. Medical science and technology are advancing at an unprecedented rate, while cost containment and productivity pressures on clinicians make the clinical environment less than ideal for training. Training is one of the vehicles for addressing new knowledge requirements and for enhancing human and system based performance. Yet the theoretical underpinnings and design aspects of training have been largely unrecognized and unexamined in health care. This paper first explores changes in the practice of medicine and the healthcare delivery environment. It then describes how healthcare training and education can benefit from findings in the behavioral and cognitive sciences. It describes the systems approach to training and explores the extent to which a systems approach can be applied to the clinical environment. Finally, the paper examines innovative training and education techniques that are already gaining acceptance in health care.
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Competing interests: none.
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