Assessing practice-based learning and improvement

Teach Learn Med. Winter 2004;16(1):85-92. doi: 10.1207/s15328015tlm1601_17.


Background: Practice-based learning and improvement (PBLI) is 1 of 6 general competencies expected of physicians who graduate from an accredited residency education program in the United States and is an anticipated requirement for those who wish to maintain certification by the member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties. This article describes methods used to assess PBLI.

Summary: Six electronic databases were searched using several search terms pertaining to PBLI. The review indicated that 4 assessment methods have been used to assess some or all steps of PBLI: portfolios, projects, patient record and chart review, and performance ratings. Each method is described, examples of application are provided, and validity, reliability, and feasibility characteristics are discussed.

Conclusion: Portfolios may be the most useful approach to assess residents' PBLI abilities. Active participation in peer-driven performance improvement initiatives may be a valuable approach to confirm practicing physician involvement in PBLI.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Competence*
  • Educational Measurement / methods*
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Medical Audit
  • Physicians / standards*
  • Problem-Based Learning*
  • Program Evaluation
  • United States