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Driving Care Quality: Aligning Trainee Assessment and Supervision Through Practical Application of Entrustable Professional Activities, Competencies and Milestones

Carraccio C, Englander R, Holmboe EH, Kogan JR
Academic Medicine
Pub Med #: 

To address the long-standing challenge of meaningful trainee assessment, the authors reviewed and expanded on the Accountable Assessment for Quality Care and Supervision (AAQCS) equation. The equation proposes that care quality is the product of the interaction between trainee performance (measured by workplace assessment) and supervision (required level of intervention to ensure care quality) in the context of the environment where the care occurs: Trainee performance × Appropriate supervision = Safe, effective patient-centered care. Assessing trainee performance and matching that performance to "appropriate" supervision, however, is fraught with challenges. The authors suggest a unifying framework that integrates entrustable professional activities (EPAs), competencies, and milestones to inform trainee assessment and supervision, thereby enabling the practical application of the AAQCS equation in the workplace. Because the unit of measure for an EPA is the outcome of whether the trainee can safely and effectively perform the professional activity without supervision, the proposed unifying framework directly aligns with the dependent variable in the AAQCS equation: care quality.The value of applying a unifying framework that integrates EPAs, competencies, and milestones to the AAQCS equation in the clinical learning environment lies in its ability to provide supervisors with a shared mental model of performance expectations for trainees, reducing unwanted variability and improving assessment accuracy; guidance for aligning performance milestones of trainees with the needed level of supervisor intervention to ensure care quality; and substrate for specific feedback to improve the trainee's professional development as a way to ensure future care quality.