New Supplement Features Latest Data, Commentary; Plots Future of EPAs

Entrustable professional activities (EPAs) represent one of the most common approaches to competency-based medical education (CBME) worldwide and are an important next step in the continuing shift toward a competency-based approach in pediatrics and pediatric subspecialties. Evidence continues to grow to support this transition. In a new supplement just published in Academic Medicine, experts from around the world in a variety of specialties address the cutting-edge work being done in the field, while imagining a future where EPAs are adopted as a global framework for assessing medical students, trainees, and physicians in practice across the continuum.

For decades, students and trainees have been primarily assessed based on their ability to successfully complete a program during a fixed period of time. EPAs provide an alternative approach where trainees are assessed based on their achievement of competence in activities that are critical for patient care. EPAs describe the essential activities that physicians are entrusted to perform safely and effectively without supervision and provide the context in which the core competencies and milestones come to life.

Leaders in the CBME community believe EPAs provide an opportunity to better assess individuals across the entire continuum of training and practice and ultimately transition to a model that facilitates more individualization and flexibility for programs and learners.

“We’re at an inflection point for the adoption of EPAs as a standard for assessment in pediatrics in the United States,” said guest co-editor David A. Turner, MD, Vice President for Competency-Based Medical Education at the ABP.

Dr. Daniel J. Schumacher, MD, PhD, MEd, co-editor, Associate Professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and Chair of the Competency-Based Medical Education Committee at the ABP agrees. “Globally, there is increasing momentum for transition to a robust, competency-based approach to education and assessment, and the articles in this supplement highlight a number of extremely important concepts for leading the international community in this direction,” he said.

This innovative supplement, Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs): Current State and Future Directions, features 17 articles from internationally recognized thought leaders and researchers, and focuses on key topics, such as:

  • Defining a path for EPAs for the next decade
  • Harnessing the potential futures of CBME
  • National efforts to implement EPAs
  • EPA-based assessment across the continuum
  • Focusing on the learner in EPA-based assessment
  • Validity arguments for EPA-based assessment
  • Roles of patients and written comments in EPA-based assessment
  • Technology in the future of EPA-based assessment.

“Bringing together the work of CBME leaders from a variety of specialties not only provides an opportunity to highlight the outstanding work being done,” said Dr. Turner. “But more importantly, we believe this supplement will serve as an additional catalyst for continued transition to EPA-based education and assessment in pediatrics, pediatric subspecialties, and beyond.”

The supplement was funded by the American Board of Pediatrics Foundation.