The Implementation of Entrustable Professional Activities in Postgraduate Medical Education in the Netherlands: Rationale, Process, and Current Status

Jacqueline de Graaf, Marieke Bolk, Auk Dijkstra, Marieke van der Horst, Reinier G Hoff, Olle Ten Cate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Postgraduate medical education in the Netherlands has adopted competency-based education since the turn of the century. In 2006, the CanMEDS competency framework was introduced. A 2013 government plan to reduce the length and budgets of training programs led the Dutch Association of Medical Specialists (DAMS) to respond with a proposal to create more flexibility and individualization rather than a blunt cut in the length across all training programs. DAMS launched a government-funded, nation-wide, 4-year project (2014-2018) to blueprint the reform of postgraduate medical education in this direction. To achieve competency-based individualization, the fixed duration of postgraduate programs was abandoned, and entrustable professional activities (EPAs) were introduced in all specialty programs. Implementation of this new generation of programs took place in 2017-2019 in all disciplines. The project focused on EPA-based individualization of all programs, while addressing issues of the continuity of patient care in time-variable programs and the legal and regulatory consequences of individualization. About 30 specialty programs were revised at national, regional, local, and individual levels to incorporate EPAs; portfolio systems were adapted, clinical competency committees were installed for all programs, and procedures for summative entrustment decision making were elaborated. This paper reports on the rationale and the process that led to a more time-variable postgraduate education landscape, and, on average, a shortening of training length by 3 months.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S29-S35
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges
Volume96
Issue number7S
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021

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