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August 2019 SEA-Q


The results of medical education research are considered to be T3 (the highest level) if they:

  • A) Improve knowledge, skills or attitude of trainees
  • B) Improve the delivery of care to patients
  • C) Improve patient and public health outcomes
  • D) Are peer reviewed and published alongside traditional basic science research


C) Improve patient and public health outcomes


The concept of three phases of progression on the impact of research comes from translational science, where basic science discoveries are used to find ways to affect patient care - by influencing practice guidelines and then by improving patient outcomes. Medical education research parallels these phases by taking interventions that influence individual performance and finding ways to, at the T3 level, tie them to improved patient outcomes.

T1 level medical education research improves the knowledge, skills or attitude of trainees.  Examples include improving scores on multiple choice tests or improving performance on simulations or oral boards.

T2 level improves the delivery of care to patients such as improvement in adherence to national patient care guidelines.

Medical education research should be peer reviewed, but neither this nor the journal of publication is related to whether it is T1, T2 or T3. The T3 level improves patient and public health outcomes. Examples include reduced length of stay and reduced postoperative morbidity such as surgical site infections, respiratory failure, etc.


  1. McGaghie WC. Medical education research as translational science. Sci Transl Med. 2010 Feb 17;2(19):19cm8. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3000679.
  2. McEvoy MD, DiLorenzo AN, Fowler LC, Schell RM. Faculty development of education researchers in academic anesthesiology. Int Anesthesiol Clin. 2016 Summer;54(3):107-30. doi: 10.1097/AIA.0000000000000106.

Author Information:

Jed Wolpaw, MD, MEd
Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine
Associate Residency Director, Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine
Co-Director Anesthesia Medical Student Education
Co-Director ICU Clerkship


The SEA is proud to be a member-driven organization, dedicated to the teaching and development of future anesthesiologists, and to the advancement of those who educate them.

Contact Info:

Society for Education in Anesthesia
6737 W. Washington St, Suite 4210 • Milwaukee, WI 53214 • (414) 389-8614