Program Outcomes & Competencies

Graduates of the degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from the Alabama College of Osteopathic Medicine (ACOM) will achieve seven (7) program level outcomes that describe the skills, competencies and knowledge gained through completion of the program curriculum. These outcomes are aligned with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA)’s 7 core competencies.

1. Osteopathic Principles, Practice, and Manipulative Treatment

1.1 Knowledge of Osteopathic Principles, Practice, and OMT – Demonstrate an understanding of osteopathic principles and practice, including knowledge of the basic science, mechanisms of action, and physical findings of somatic dysfunction and basic application of OMT.
1.2 Skills in Osteopathic Principles, Practice, and OMT – Apply osteopathic principles, including the use of OMT, to an appropriate patient care plan.
1.3 Integration of Osteopathic Principles, Practice, and OMT Into Care – Demonstrate sufficient depth of knowledge and skills to recognize, diagnose, and treat patients who have somatic dysfunctions using OMT in the clinical setting.

2. Osteopathic Patient Care and Procedural Skills

2.1 Data Gathering – Gather accurate, essential data from all sources, including the patient, secondary sources, medical records, and physical examination (including osteopathic structural examination), regardless of patient age or clinical setting.
2.2 Differential Diagnosis – Formulate a differential diagnosis based on the patient evaluation and epidemiologic data, prioritize diagnoses appropriately, and determine the nature of the concern or complaint in the context of the patient’s life cycle and in a variety of health care settings.
2.3 Essential Clinical Procedures – Perform basic clinical procedures essential for the generalist practice of osteopathic medicine.
2.4 Patient Care Management – Provide diagnostic information; develop a safe, evidence-based, costeffective, equitable, patient-centered care plan; and use all ethical and appropriate options for the goal of relieving the patient’s physical and psychological distress. Within the context of evidence-based and cost effective care, the osteopathic physician must assess the patient’s motivation, willingness, and ability to cooperate with the diagnostic and therapeutic plan.
2.5 Patient Education – Assess patients’ health literacy and understanding and must counsel and educate patients accordingly.

3. Application of Knowledge for Osteopathic Medical Practice

3.1 Foundational Biomedical Sciences Knowledge Base – Demonstrate the application of knowledge of clinically applicable foundational biomedical science concepts related to patient care and health, homeostasis, structure-function relationships, prevention, and disease, and do so in an integrated, patient centered, osteopathic manner.
3.2 Clinical Sciences Knowledge Base – Demonstrate the application of knowledge of established and evolving clinical science concepts related to patient care and health, homeostasis, structure-function relationships, prevention, and disease and do so in an integrated, patient-centered, osteopathic manner.
3.3 Continuous Knowledge-Base Development and Lifelong Learning – Demonstrate that he/she acquires and sustains knowledge of applicable foundational biomedical and clinical science concepts appropriate for clinical practice for lifelong learning, including, as applicable, at the point of care.

4. Practice-Based Learning and Improvement in Osteopathic Medical Practice

4.1 Fundamental Epidemiologic Concepts – Articulate and apply fundamental epidemiologic concepts to practice-based learning and improvement.
4.2 Clinical Decision-Making Tools – Interpret literature regarding research and clinical topics for use in understanding disease-oriented and patient-oriented evidence.
4.3 Evidence-Based Medicine Principles and Practices – Learn and apply evidence-based osteopathic medical principles and practices
4.4 Clinical Significance of Research Evidence and Statistical Inferences – Determine the clinical significance of research evidence.
4.5 Translating Evidence into Practice and Continuous Learning – Apply evidence to clinical practice.
4.6 Continuous Evaluation, Feedback, and Reflection for the Improvement of Osteopathic Clinical Practice – Identify, describe, and apply systematic methods relating to continuous evaluation of personal osteopathic clinical practice patterns, practice-based improvements, and the reduction of medical errors. The osteopathic physician must do so using information about individual patients, populations of patients, or communities to improve care. The osteopathic physician must incorporate regular feedback and reflection into practice, as well as set learning and improvement goals.

5. Interpersonal and Communication Skills in the Practice of Osteopathic Medicine

5.1 Eliciting Information – Communicate effectively with the patient, the patient’s family, and other caregivers in order to establish a diagnostic impression and to help ascertain the nature of the concern or complaint. The osteopathic physician must open patient interviews by encouraging the patient to fully
express concerns and must further gather information in a manner that results in effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and other health care professionals.
5.2 Rapport Building – Develop, maintain, and conclude the therapeutic relationship and demonstrate competence in the rapport-building functions of the medical interview.
5.3  Information Giving – Effectively provide patient education and information, ensuring that the patient (or caregiver) understands his/her condition and the diagnostic and/or treatment options and recommendations. This includes achieving consensus between the patient (or caregiver) and the physician. It also includes facilitating the informed consent process and recommending mutually agreed-upon diagnostic and/or therapeutic steps, or health promotion and disease prevention strategies. Additionally, it includes enhancing patient coping mechanisms and encouraging appropriate lifestyle changes to avoid illness and to promote and maintain health.
5.4 Written and/or Electronic Documentation and Communication – Demonstrate effective written and electronic communication in patient care and in working as a member of the interprofessional collaborative team.

6. Professionalism in the Practice of Osteopathic Medicine

6.1 Knowledge of Ethics and Professionalism – Demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the behavioral and social sciences that provide the foundation for the professionalism competency, including medical ethics, social accountability, and responsibility.
6.2 Humanistic Behavior – Demonstrate respect, altruism, compassion, integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness.
6.3 Primacy of Patient Need – Demonstrate responsiveness to the needs of patients and society that supersedes self-interest.
6.4 Accountability and Duty in the Physician-Patient Relationship – Establish, maintain, and conclude the physician-patient relationship in accordance with proper ethical and legal standards. The osteopathic physician must demonstrate accountability to patients, society, and the profession.
6.5 Cultural Competency – Demonstrate sensitivity, respect, and responsiveness to a diverse and heterogeneous patient population, including but not limited to diversity in culture, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic circumstances, mental and physical disabilities, and military personnel and their families.
6.6 Ethical Principles in Practice and Research – Demonstrate knowledge of, and the ability to apply, ethical principles in the practice and research of osteopathic medicine, particularly in the areas of confidentiality of patient information, access to care, regulation of care, provision or withholding of care, and the conduct of research.

7. Systems-Based Practice in Osteopathic Medicine

7.1 Health Systems Awareness – Understand health care delivery systems and their associated health care coverage and access, including but not limited to Medicare, Medicaid, managed care, the Veterans Health Administration, formularies, accountable care organizations, and patient-centered medical homes, all of which affect the practice of an osteopathic physician and the care of his/her patients and the community.
7.2 Engage in an Interprofessional Health Care Team for Optimal Patient – and Population-Centered Care – Understand the function of the interprofessional health care team and his/her role in the team and also optimize team performance across the health care system for safe, quality patient- and population centered care.
7.3 Incorporate Considerations of Cost Awareness and Risk-Benefit Analysis in Care – Consider how to allocate resources (eg, evaluating value, quality, cost, risk-benefit analysis, potential wastes) in the health care delivery system and incorporate them into the care of patients.
7.4 Advocate for All Patients within the Health Care System – Advocate for all patients within the health care system.
7.5 Improve Health Systems and Patient Safety – Understand, advocate for, and apply methods for the evaluation and improvement of patient care systems, with the goal of improving patient safety and quality of care.