Using a Delphi process to establish consensus on emergency medicine clerkship competencies

Med Teach. 2011;33(6):e333-9. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2011.575903.


Background: Currently, there is no consensus on the core competencies required for emergency medicine (EM) clerkships in Canada. Existing EM curricula have been developed through informal consensus or local efforts. The Delphi process has been used extensively as a means for establishing consensus.

Aim: The purpose of this project was to define core competencies for EM clerkships in Canada, to validate a Delphi process in the context of national curriculum development, and to demonstrate the adoption of the CanMEDS physician competency paradigm in the undergraduate medical education realm.

Methods: Using a modified Delphi process, we developed a consensus amongst a panel of expert emergency physicians from across Canada utilizing the CanMEDS 2005 Physician Competency Framework.

Results: Thirty experts from nine different medical schools across Canada participated on the panel. The initial list consisted of 152 competencies organized in the seven domains of the CanMEDS 2005 Physician Competency Framework. After the second round of the Delphi process, the list of competencies was reduced to 62 (59% reduction).

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that a modified Delphi process can result in a strong consensus around a realistic number of core competencies for EM clerkships. We propose that such a method could be used by other medical specialties and health professions to develop rotation-specific core competencies.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Canada
  • Clinical Clerkship / standards*
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Competency-Based Education / standards*
  • Consensus
  • Delphi Technique*
  • Emergency Medicine / education*
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Schools, Medical