Competency-based physician education, recertification, and licensure

Mary Gleason Heffron, Deborah Simspon, Mahendr S Kochar
WMJ: Official Publication of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin 2007, 106 (4): 215-8
Discussions about competency-based education are occurring at all levels of medical education: medical school, residency, and continuing education. Competencies are also an important aspect of certification and are likely to be a part of physician licensure. The 6 General Competencies from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)--patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, professionalism, interpersonal and communication skills, and systems-based practice-are firmly established in residency education and are rapidly infusing and changing both medical student and continuing medical education. As physicians must continuously learn and maintain certification throughout their careers, it is essential to understand what competency-based education is and its implications. This article provides an overview of the meaning, history, and evolution of competency-based education and emerging approaches to assessing competence across the continuum of physician education. The discussion asserts that a new view of education is required in which individual competence in key areas is synergistically taught, learned, and assessed.

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