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Update on Residency Accreditation Toolkit Planned to Help Residency Programs Prepare for the Next Accreditation System Requirements

Many of you are in the process of reviewing your resident evaluation methods and processes to gauge their ability to inform your clinical competency committee (CCC) as we prepare for the semi-annual ACGME milestones document in your yearly update to begin on July 1, 2014. Many of you are also wondering about what your programs should be doing now? 

STFM has convened a Residency Accreditation Toolkit Task Force whose charge is to develop evaluation and faculty development tools directed at the entire New Accreditation System (NAS) process including, not just milestones, but also CLER visits, the Program Evaluation Committee (PEC), faculty survey, scholarly activity, and other requirements by summer of 2014. The Residency Accreditation Toolkit will also include tips, tools, and techniques for programs and residency coordinators, as well as a robust frequently asked questions section. Members of the Residency Accreditation Toolkit Task Force have broad experience as program directors, Residency Review Committee members, ACGME Board Member, Designated Institutional Officials (DIO), and residency faculty.

We realize there is a lot of angst about what you should do at this juncture. Do not throw out your existing evaluation mechanisms!  Remember that what you are using now will help inform your clinical competency committee about the milestone development for your residents. The strategy for programs in the future NAS environment will be to have your evaluations tools and mechanisms map to the milestones. These existing evaluation tools you currently have are data points that will be interpreted by the CCC and translated into Milestones. You do not need to redesign your entire evaluation system. Do not overthink this and overreact to the changes.

What you need to focus on now is to methodically and systematically start evaluating what your program is doing to best inform your CCC about your residents progress along the milestones continuum and to start to engage in how to make this an efficient and effective process. This process of examining your evaluation tools will most likely lead to things that you need to change, modify or create. That is where the toolkit will come in handy as it will hopefully, have many things you are looking for.

For those of you who desire to reengineer your current evaluation systems and rebuild from scratch, I hope you’ll consider incorporating some of the resources that are coming to the toolkit. For others struggling to match your current tools with ones that inform all the milestones, you will also find help in this new Residency Accreditation Toolkit. For those that want to polish what you are doing and add some great tips and techniques, there will be good things for you as well. However, I want to reassure programs that you do not need to throw out your current evaluation system to be able to map to the milestones.

This toolkit will have templates, slide sets, best practices, checklists, education forms, and we are even investigating mobile app’s that will help with decreasing the burden of succeeding and thriving in the NAS environment.

The ACGME’s intent with all of this is to ensure that we are producing competent family physicians that are safe to the public and that the programs in which they train are paying attention to quality, patient safety, and performance improvement.

We strongly encourage program directors, as you anticipate what will be required in your program, to take initial steps to prepare your systems, faculty, and residents for this future, but to consider delaying making permanent and time-consuming decisions about your evaluation systems until this discussion is coordinated on the national level. As a discipline, we do have time to do this the right way to the benefit of all programs and our learners.

The Residency Accreditation Toolkit Task Force will be holding a full-day preconference workshop at this year’s STFM Annual Spring Conference in May. Much of what the task force is working on will be rolled out at this time. The task force will also provide regular updates on the STFM website to help programs through this transition period.

I hope that this update helps many of you with where things stand as we all prepare for the New Accreditation System. Hang in there. We are all in this together and we will get there successfully.

On behalf of the entire Residency Accreditation Toolkit Task Force we wish you all the very best in these endeavors!

Ted Epperly, MD, chair
Residency Accreditation Toolkit Task Force

Copyright 2018 by Society of Teachers of Family Medicine