Residency Education Redesign: The Interplay of Innovation and Standardization

Fam Med. 2021 Jun 1. doi: 10.22454/FamMed.2021.862031. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Tensions have always existed between innovation and standardization in family medicine, due to the need for rapid responses to changing health issues while ensuring proficiency. For innovation in residency training to be successful, standardization of milestones and frameworks as well as outcomes of residency education are needed and must be clear and rely on measurable effectiveness standards. Standardization without innovation can cause educational stasis, failure to adapt to change, and/or lack of evidence-guided education. Here, we examine possible options for creating the right balance, review what the evidence shows, and make recommendations for the future, including (1) adoption and study of clear, actionable entrustable professional activities (EPAs) as educational standards for residency graduates; (2) core faculty be required to engage in faculty development that includes competency-based medical education using the EPA framework, advanced curriculum development, program evaluation, objective learner assessments aligned with individualized learning plans, and increased opportunities for program directors to gain additional training in the educational sciences; (3) 30% of protected time for core faculty to design, administer, and assess the educational program; (4) required participation in educational collaboratives that rigorously study innovation; (5) required scholarly work that supports program development both clinically and educationally. Taken together, these recommendations represent a vital interplay between cutting-edge innovation and thoughtful standardization using collaboration to graduate residents ready to provide optimal care in their communities, both now and into the future. All stakeholders in the discipline must undertake strategic and deliberate planning designed to adjust direct and indirect costs of residency training to support these recommendations.