Accreditation Council Chooses Radiology Among First to Revamp GME

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Diagnostic radiology has been chosen as one of seven specialties to follow a new accreditation process for graduate medical education beginning in July 2013.

All other specialties will start a revamped accreditation process a year later.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education says it’s changing the accreditation process in response to reported burnout and overburdens with the current system.

The council also believes the new process will enhance the learning environment and lead to greater innovations among medical schools, based on an article posted on-line in the current issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

The current program had become “prescriptive, and opportunities for innovation have progressively disappeared,” the article states. “As administrative burdens have grown, program directors have been forced to manage programs rather than mentor residents.”

The new accreditation method involves annual data collection with site visits every 10 years. Review committees will perform an annual evaluation of trends in key performance measurements along with a faculty survey.

“Programs that demonstrate high-quality outcomes will be freed to innovate by relaxing detailed process standards that specify elements of residents' formal learning experiences (e.g., hours of lectures and bedside teaching), leaving them free to innovate in these areas while continuing to offer guidance to new programs and those that do not achieve good educational outcomes,” the article states.

Programs will also submit milestone data on its residents every six months developed by an expert panel based on published literature. The final milestone acts as an entry point into the licensure phase. And over time, those milestones will extend into undergraduate medical education as well.

As part of its announcement, the accreditation council expressed the limitations of its program, saying that no model by itself can make up for the “overuse of resources, inefficiencies and disparities that characterize aspects of the nation’s health care system.”

“Rather, its roles are to arm the next generation of physicians with knowledge, skills, and attributes that will enhance care in the future and to expand the traditional role of residents in the care of underserved populations,” the article states.