The University of Hong Kong's Faculty of Medicine has proposed a new curriculum in an attempt to keep up with changes in medical education. The goal of the curriculum is to produce an 'undifferentiated doctor', capable of delivering effective, humane, economic and ethical medical care with a commitment to life-long learning. The faculty's dean, Professor Chow Shew-ping, said the new curriculum would provide a course in which students would be encouraged to take greater responsibility for their education and to question what they learn. 'The key innovation . . . will be the introduction of case-based, small-group tutorial learning,' he said. Professor Chow said his faculty recently completed an extensive curriculum review report. He said the main concerns were that teaching was too compartmentalised; students were too passive; courses lacked objectives; teaching staff lacked a monitoring system; and the curriculum was too full. 'Discussions within our faculty have produced agreement that there is a need to change our curriculum. 'Suggestions made have been combined with the recommendations of the General Medical Council and the World Federation of Medical Education to provide a framework for a new proposed curriculum,' Professor Chow said. In view of the faculty concerns, the content of the present course will be reduced, and the curriculum will be based on the 'core-plus-options' approach with clearly stated learning objectives. 'Our faculty members have expressed strong feelings towards the need to integrate some system-based core blocks which will provide an opportunity for students to learn the essential elements of science and clinical experience by studying in an integrated programme,' he said. Professor Chow said changes were required in the way students are assessed, and formative assessment would be introduced in all sections of the course. 'Summative assessments will take place and will require students to demonstrate competence in relevant areas, with the opportunity for remedial work,' he said. Logbooks of clinical experience will be introduced to ensure that students have been exposed to an adequate range of patient problems, and to act as a record of their competency. 'Early clinical contact with patients will be encouraged from the beginning of the course, with the introduction of clinical and communication skills teaching in the first two years,' Professor Chow said. Previously, only third-year students were encouraged to establish clinical contact with patients. Professor Chow said medical graduates would need to have good computer knowledge and also be able to understand the principles of information management, not only as aids to learning but also as part of the effective management of resources in clinical practice. It is expected that the proposal will be approved by the university Faculty Board by May.