Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Review Of The Acgme Professionalism Competency: Too Subjective To Be A Reliable Measurement Of Resident Quality?

Gail Feinberg, DO, FACOFP, MEd
Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital

In 1999, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) proposed a set of six competencies which were felt to be a more complete and ideal way to look at U.S. residency programs’ educational quality. Some of these competencies are fairly straight forward in their definition, interpretation, and the way different residencies across the country collect information and report outcomes. Others are more subjective in nature and may pose more of a problem in definition. This study examines the definition, measurement tools and professionalism curricula as described by family medicine program directors.

Results: A majority of the program directors incorrectly identified ACGME definitions for other competencies as part of the professionalism competency. When directly asked, the definitions were varied and did not contain essential elements as described by the ACGME and American Osteopathic Association (AOA). A majority of programs do not have a formal curriculum relating to professionalism, and those that do use a varied system of measurement tools to evaluate their residents.

Conclusions: Family medicine program directors do not uniformly define or recognize the ACGME/AOA definition of professionalism. Reporting to an agency on a competency measure that is not uniformly understood will lead to invalid and unreliable data. Better understanding of the ACGME intent for this competency needs to be given to program directors if this competency/measure is to be accurately taught, measured and reported by residency programs.