Is there a difference between traditional models of Distributed Medical Education (DME) and Integrated Medical Education (IME)?

The AFMC notes that DME involves “learners and teachers who are at multiple locations outside of the usual classroom or clinical site. For example, medical students may be assigned to different hospitals for clinical experiences and to family physicians' offices distant from the university site”.

Traditional DME models involved an element of rural medicine, and implied a “hub and spoke model” with the University situated in the centre, sending learners “out”, sometimes across very long distances (see diagram on the right).  

IME also involves teaching sites and learning experiences outside of the AHSC (academic health sciences centre) in a broad range of settings. However, IME at the University of Toronto involves integration amongst the various stakeholders, including postgraduate and undergraduate medical education, our fully affiliated hospitals, community hospitals and teaching sites, and clinical departments.

IME requires our medical school, education programs and clinical departments to build mechanisms which ensure an inclusive, efficient, and collaborative partnership with our community-based hospitals, in all of our endeavors. To enable a fully integrated medical program, new pedagogical methods, educational technologies, and business models are key. Diagram 2 demonstrates the relationship amongst the various stakeholders in the University of Toronto’s IME model. (See diagram on the right)