Service makes core-competency education more engaging, trackable

Brendan Murphy
Staff Writer
AMA Wire
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The science of medicine and the art of practicing it aren’t always the same thing. That is part of the thinking behind the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s core-competency requirements that residents must fulfill as part of their training. Yet meeting this vital obligation within the already time-squeezed residency training period can be difficult, which is why a set of online educational modules that are compelling to residents and customizable for administrators is an essential complement.

With that in mind, the AMA launched the GME Competency Education Program (GCEP) this past June.

The program is designed to help engage residents through interactive tutorials and track their progress during their competency training.

With contributions by subject-matter experts from around the country, the GME Competency Education Program’s offerings include 33 course modules that residents can access online, on their own schedule. Among these experts are several who contributed to the AMA’s new Health Systems Science textbook, which draws insights from faculty at medical schools that are part of the Association’s Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium.

Modules cover five of the six topics—patient care, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, and system-based practice—within the ACGME’s core competency requirements. The sixth requirement, medical knowledge, is one that is typically addressed during clinical education.

Impressive engagement so far

This new AMA resource, formerly known as the Introduction to Medicine (IPM), launched in June, and thus far the feedback from GME leaders and residents has been positive. A major objective of the platform redesign platform was to create a more user-friendly and engaging experience for residents to quickly and easily complete courses they are assigned. The early results suggest that goal has been accomplished. Now, 84 percent of residents who login successfully complete at least one course. On average, it appears residents are completing 75 percent more courses per login than on the old platform.

The modules that the GME Competency Education Program offers are designed to ensure that residents are engaged. That means shorter seat times (between five and 20 minutes), frequent knowledge checks aimed at increasing retention and course scenarios that mirror experiences residents are likely to encounter during their workdays.

The GME Competency Education Program also makes it easier for administrators to get a dashboard view of residents’ usage, including:

  • Completion status of assignments.
  • Assessment results, including flagging three failed assessment attempts.
  • Summaries of assessments taken by the program.
  • Results organized by individual, postgraduate year, program or institution.
  • Certificate reports of courses that residents have successfully completed.

Tutorials focus on a broad range of topics such as cultural competency, resident intimidation and sleep deprivation. The modules serve to reinforce lessons learned during rounds as well as cover bigger-picture issues that might not arise on a daily, or even weekly, basis.

William A. Tortoriello, MD, is the associate director of the Deaconess Family Medicine Residency Program in Evansville, Indiana. Deaconess is among the 150 institutions that is using the new program.

“We can touch on a lot of these things every day, when we staff with the residents, but the main issues that we talk with them about is what’s happening with that patient,” Dr. Tortoriello said.  “So during the course of a day, an issue like diversity may or may not come up; an issue like confidentiality may or may not come up. We certainly can make everything come up every time, but the problem is it’s hard to incorporate every one of the competencies all day long. It [the GME Competency Education Program] supplements what we are doing. It reinforces what we talk to them about periodically because you can’t talk about everything every time.”

A flexible curriculum

The GME Competency Education Program gives residency directors and faculty members the ability to create assignments that address the specific needs of their students. Dr. Tortoriello, for instance, gives assignments to the 16 first- and second-year residents in his program on an incremental basis.

“So we don’t overburden them, I set up an assignment every block,” he said. “These are four-week blocks, so over the year they get 12 assignments. And I can go through the assignments and say that this too advanced for the first-years, this isn’t advanced enough for the second-years, and it’s easy to do.”

For more information about the AMA’s GME Competency Education Program, or to request a demo, email [email protected].

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