So the ACGME today just announced a major restructuring to the process of how residency and fellowship training programs are reviewed. It is called the NAS (Next Accreditation System). Take home points from the article, published today online in the New England Journal of Medicine:
1. Measurement and reporting of outcomes occur through the milestones (this “grounds the competencies and makes them meaningful”)
2. Programs submit milestone data on residents every 6 months.
3. Sponsoring institutions will be responsible for the quality and safety of the environment for learning and patient care.
4. Programs can be formally reviewed with a “site visit” every 10 years (this is VERY similar to the ACCME, which accredits CME programs, with the “self-study” process).
5. The accreditation system focuses less on problem identification and more on success of programs in addressing them (this is quality improvement in its purest form, in my opinion).
My personal opinion: I am VERY glad that the ACGME mentioned self-regulation in the article. If the medical education profession did not regulate itself, then others who likely have no business evaluating medical education would be regulating it. Kudos to the ACGME, for listening to program directors that the administrative “burden” was overshadowing the education of trainees, which I feel is the reason most program directors chose to do what they do.
I believe that it is wonderful that the ACGME took on this ambitious NAS endeavor. I look forward to what the next steps will be. What are your thoughts?