Objective: Entrustable professional activities (EPAs) represent discrete clinical tasks that can be entrusted to trainees in psychiatry. They are increasingly being used as educational framework in several countries. However, the empirical evidence available has not been synthesized in the field of psychiatry. Therefore, the authors conducted a systematic review in order to summarize and evaluate the available evidence in the field of EPAs in undergraduate and graduate medical education in psychiatry.
Methods: The authors searched PubMed, Cochrane Library, ERIC, Embase, PsycINFO, all Ovid journals, Scopus, Web of Science, MedEdPORTAL, and the archives of Academic Psychiatry for articles reporting quantitative and qualitative research as well as educational case reports on EPAs in undergraduate and graduate psychiatry education published since 2005. All included articles were assessed for content (development, implementation, and assessment of EPAs) and quality using the Quality Assessment Tool for Studies with Diverse Designs.
Results: The authors screened 2807 records and included a total of 20 articles in the final data extraction. Most studies were expert consensus reports (n = 6, 30%) and predominantly conducted in English-speaking countries (n = 17, 85%). Papers reported mainly EPA development and/or EPA implementation studies (n = 14, 70%), whereas EPA assessment studies were less frequent (n = 6, 30%). Publications per year showed an increasing trend both in quantity (from 1 in 2011 to 7 in 2018) and quality (from a QATSDD score of 27 in 2011 to an average score of 39 in 2018). The main focus of the articles was the development of individual EPAs for different levels of training for psychiatry or on curricular frameworks based on EPAs in psychiatry (n = 10, 50%). The lack of empirical controlled studies does currently not allow for meta-analyses of educational outcomes.
Conclusions: The concept of EPA-based curricula seems to become increasingly present, a focus in the specialty of psychiatry both in UME and GME. The lack of empirical research in this context is an important limitation for educational practice recommendations. Currently there is only preliminary but promising data available for using EPAs with regard to educational outcomes. EPAs seem to be effectively used from a curriculum design perspective for UME and GME in psychiatry.
Keywords: Entrustable professional activities; Psychiatry; Systematic review.
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