ACC Releases Lifelong Learning Competencies for General Cardiologists

Document Complements Previously Released COCATS 4

Contact: Rachel Cagan,, 202-375-6395

WASHINGTON (Feb 19, 2016) -

The American College of Cardiology today released the 2016 ACC Lifelong Learning Competencies for General Cardiologists, a document that defines the knowledge, skills, and behaviors expected of clinical cardiologists in practice. The driving goal is to ensure the highest levels of quality and service for patients.

The competencies are organized using the six competency domains developed by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education & American Board of Medical Specialties, and endorsed by the American Board of Internal Medicine. They include medical knowledge, patient care and procedural skill, systems-based practice, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communication skills, and professionalism. The document also includes leadership and administrative competencies such as organizational skills, professional identity, interaction with governmental and health care systems, and personal balance. A key feature of the document is adherence to appropriate use and guideline driven criteria for patient care and resource utilization.

“These lifelong learning competencies serve as the underpinning of all ACC education activities and are a mechanism for needs assessment and personalized or focused education for physicians,” said Eric S. Williams, M.D., MACC, professor of medicine and associate director of the Krannert Institute of Cardiology at Indiana University and IU Health and chair of the writing committee.

There are a number of assessment tools for physicians to expand lifelong learning and maintain competency, as well as to assess their professional needs for education and performance improvement. Available tools include certified continuing medical education activities relevant to an individual’s practice, review of practice or hospital data, performance assessment and improvement programs, and facilitated self-reflection. For procedural or diagnostic laboratory activities, assessment tools may include registry or hospital data, appropriate use criteria, and metrics developed by national organizations.

Together with the Core Cardiology Training Statement (COCATS 4), released in March 2015, the ACC documents cover the spectrum of a career cardiologist from training through their practice career.

“In the end, all are intended to provide the highest levels of service and care— whenever and wherever we are privileged to serve them,” said Williams.

The paper will publish online today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The American College of Cardiology is a 52,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more information, visit


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