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How Medical Institutions Generate Dean’s Letters (MSPE) and Why Do They Need Modern LIMS?

How Medical Institutions Generate Dean’s Letters (MSPE Letter)?

Every medical student dreams of joining a residency program in their chosen specialty. A medical student starts searching for a residency program during the final year of their schooling, and residents’ training takes place in a hospital during the medical residency program.  

To get accepted into residency programs, a Medical Student Performance Evaluation (MSPE) or Dean’s letter is required. An MSPE letter is a letter of evaluation of one’s performance in medical school. It is one of the top 5 components of a residency application cited by program directors in the 2021 NRMP Program Director survey and is rated 4/5 in importance. 

Creating the MSPE letter is time-consuming. Learning Information Management System, commonly known as LIMS, provides a letter generator feature that makes this process more streamlined. With LIMS, multiple MSPE letters can be created with just a few clicks.  

In this post, we explore the components of the MSPE letter and highlight how modern LIMS can make this process more efficient while providing real-time student data. 

Contents of MSPE: 

There are no hard and fast rules regarding the content of the MSPE letter. ACGME has suggested including the following content in an MSPE letter: the more detailed the MSPE letter, the more beneficial it will be during the residency application cycle.  

 

Identifying Information: 

Identifying information is the first and fundamental part of an MSPE letter. It includes the student’s name, year in school, and the name and location of the school where they are pursuing their education. 

 

Noteworthy Characteristics: 

The second segment of an MSPE letter details the student’s noteworthy characteristics. The faculty usually fills out this and includes three bulleted statements of 2 lines each describing the student’s performance, including challenges faced and how these were overcome. 

 

Academic History: 

 This section includes details about 

  • Start of medical school 
  • Expected graduation date 
  • Details of any gaps in education 
  • Programs in which the student has enrolled 
  • Details of any area of academics the student was required to repeat along with reasons thereof. 
  • Information on any adverse actions imposed on the student by the medical school. 

 

Academic Progress: 

This section of the letter will describe the student’s pre-clinical coursework, the clerkships undertaken by the student, and their professional performance. It also includes the student’s academic performance and their professional attributes. It will have a statement about the professional standards attained by the student. 


Summary Assessment:
 

This section will explain the school’s grading system and the ranking metrics. It will also provide comparative data to measure a student’s performance. This statement concerns the student’s fulfillment of the medical school’s requirements. The reporting Dean will be in charge of the preparation of summary assessments. 

 

Medical school information: 

This section will include basic details of the medical school and the link to the school’s website. It will provide information about the medical school’s mission and goals and emphasize the specific programs offered by the school. 

 

Why is the MSPE Letter important to medical students? 

The question of why an MSPE letter is important may ponder your mind. The answer is quite simple.  

The MSPE letter helps residency program directors determine if a candidate will be good for their program. Based on this letter, a student gets accepted into the residency program. Since it has the power to decide the fate of a student’s career, it plays a very crucial role in the medical journey of an individual.  

It is also essential that all the required details are fed into the letter in the standardized format suggested by the AAMC MSPE task force. Around 84% of program directors across multiple specialties have indicated MSPE as one of the vital factors they consider while screening an applicant for an interview.  

The National Resident Matching Program Survey requires the presence of an MSPE letter as part of the eligibility criteria to apply for residency. An MSPE letter will show that a student is a competitive candidate for residency.  

Without an MSPE letter, a student’s chance of getting interviewed for residency is less than 16%. One of the stand-out features of an MSPE letter is that it is released nationally for program directors to review. 

 

MSPE vs. Dean’s letter 

The MSPE letter substituted the need for a Dean’s letter. The MSPE letter is more structured and provides a detailed overview of the performance of a medical student when compared to the old Dean’s letter. The MSPE letter is the final puzzle in a resident’s application process.  

A Dean’s letter usually ranks students using adjectives like “Good” or “Bad.” It will not provide a school-wide comparison while ranking students. The MSPE letter overcomes this limitation. The MSPE letter is the revamped version of a Dean’s letter as it is more exclusive and detailed. 

 

The MSPE Letter Writing Process: 

The entire process of the MSPE letter is quite simple. An MSPE letter is prepared in the third year of medical school. The students will meet with the allocated Dean to review the residency application process. The Dean will prepare the MSPE letter on the student’s behalf. The MSPE letter should be a maximum of 7 single-spaced pages.

Students can review their MSPE letter before it gets published.   

The processing of an MSPE letter will take five business days. The medical school will upload the MSPE letter to the EMSWP ERAS, an Electronic Residency Application Service of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). 

 

Issues faced by medical schools when the MSPE letter is generated manually :

  1. Time-consuming

Without a modern system, where MSPE letters can be generated within five working days, it would take almost 3 months to generate the letters manually thereby consuming a lot of time and delaying the process.

  1. Complexity :

The manual process requires more manpower with  technical skills including advanced knowledge of MS Word. This will ultimately result in increased labor costs.

  1. Absence of centrally stored data

With the manual generation of MSPE letter data integrity is difficult to.maintain. Data has to be extracted from various sources and is prone to error and duplicity. The lack of real-time data adds to the complexity of the generation of MSPE letters.

  1. Multiple checks:

When data is entered manually it is prone to errors. To avoid this the students and the medical school have to perform multiple checks to ensure accuracy. This will consume a lot of time and simultaneously increase the cost.

 

How LIMS Makes it Easy to Generate MSPE Letters: 

The educational path of a medical school is unique, which calls for special techniques to manage the students and their curriculum. 

Learning Information Management System, commonly known as LIMS, is a modern solution hosted in the cloud and is highly beneficial for medical faculty, administrators and Deans. LIMS provides a centralized dashboard where details of all the students are maintained.  

LIMS provides timely data about student compliance and academic performance and helps manage course creation and enrollments for students of all programs and departments. LIMS enables the creation of multiple MSPE letters with just a few clicks. Manually this process could take up to three months to perform; with the MSPE letter generator, the entire process for all students can be completed within five business days. 

 Features of LIMS: 

  • Real-time data 
  • Centralized server 
  • Fast processing of Application 
  • Easy access 
  • Cloud-based system 
  • Bulk MSPE Generation

Why do Medical Schools need a Modern LIMS to generate MSPE letters? 

LIMS helps in the faster generation of MSPE letters as it has a Pre templated form, which can be filled in a brief period and submitted for approval.  

Portfolio categories: 

The portfolio category on the LIMS website is meant for People in the Admin department of the Medical school. Admins are authorized to restrict and provide access to enable only a limited number of people to handle & access data. 

 Users can be added and removed easily without additional time-consuming formalities and on a real-time basis. User details and new applications are stored in the Shared with me section of Portfolio. 

 

MSPE Builder :  

The MSPE builder feature of LIMS has the entire collection of all the students and the different courses available. We can select any number of students & courses to generate MSPE letters for them. Once selected, the MSPE letter will appear on the screen, which can also be exported for ease of use. 

 

MSPE Settings : 

The MSPE settings have the Schools & letterhead details, the Dean’s signature, and a curriculum write-up. These details appear in a box-like format on the screen, which can be easily filled up. 

 

Conclusion: The MSPE letter provides a snapshot of the students’ performance at medical school and is part of the residency program application process. It is of great importance when considering candidates for residency programs and hence needs to be accurate and up-to-date with the information for each student. 

LIMS is a modern learner information management software application designed to meet the unique needs of every medical school. The MSPE letter generator feature is flexible and easy to use and saves time and effort for medical schools. 

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