Context: There is significant variation in the structure and quality of undergraduate medical education around the world. Accreditation processes can encourage institutional improvement and help promote high-quality education experiences.
Methods: To investigate the overseeing of medical education from an international perspective, the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) has developed, and continues to update, the Directory of Organizations that Recognize/Accredit Medical Schools (DORA). The directory includes information on the presence of national accrediting bodies and related data. Medical education accreditation information was pooled by World Health Organization (WHO) regions.
Results: Although over half of all countries with medical schools indicate that they have a national process for accrediting medical education programmes, the nature of the various authorities and levels of enforcement vary considerably.
Discussion: Despite global trends indicating an increasing focus on the quality of education programmes, data linking accreditation processes to the production of more highly skilled doctors and, ultimately, better patient care are lacking. Investigating current accreditation practices is a necessary step for further research. To this end, we will continue to gather data on medical education around the world and will explore opportunities for relating these processes to outcomes.