Background Longitudinal clerkships show promise in improving undergraduate primary care education. This study examines the Education-Centered Medical Home (ECMH), a longitudinal clerkship embedding teams of students across all four years into primary care clinics to provide patient care and serve as health coaches for high-risk patients. Method All students graduating in 2015 were surveyed to assess attitudes, experiences, and preferences regarding primary care education. ECMH students were compared with students receiving their primary care training in a traditional curriculum (TC) using paired measures of comparison. To assess the impact of the ECMH on patient care quality, authors performed a detailed chart review at one site. Results Seventy-six percent of eligible students participated in the study. ECMH students (n = 69) and TC students (n = 68) had similar baseline academic performance and career interests. ECMH students reported more continuity-of-care experiences, higher satisfaction with their primary care learning climate (86% versus 61% in the EMCH and TC cohorts, respectively), more confidence in their quality improvement skills, and scored higher on measures of perceived patient centeredness. Students from both groups recommended the ECMH (91% and 57%, respectively). Student involvement at one ECMH site was correlated with increased patient contacts and improved delivery of recommended preventive care. Conclusions Incorporating students longitudinally into primary care clinics is highly rated by students. The ECMH model led to improved continuity, improved perceptions of the learning climate, and higher patient centeredness. Preliminary data suggest that students add value and improve patient outcomes during longitudinal clinical experiences.
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