Lifelong Learning Competencies for General Cardiologists

Williams ES, Halperin JL, Arrighi JA, et al.
2016 ACC Lifelong Learning Competencies for General Cardiologists: A Report From the ACC Competency Management Committee. J Am Coll Cardiol 2016;Feb 19:[Epub ahead of print].

The following are key points to remember about American College of Cardiology lifelong learning competencies for general cardiologists:

  1. The lifelong learning competencies for general cardiologists are organized using the six domains promulgated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education/American Board of Medical Specialties and endorsed by the American Board of Internal Medicine (Medical Knowledge, Patient Care and Procedural Skill, Systems-Based Practice, Practice-Based Learning and Improvement, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, and Professionalism).
  2. The aggregated lifelong learning competencies collectively underlie the Entrustable Professional Activities that patients and the public can reasonably expect all competent clinical cardiologists to be able to perform. These include ability to:
    • Evaluate, diagnose, and develop treatment plans for patients with known, suspected, or at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
    • Manage patients with acute cardiac conditions.
    • Manage patients with chronic cardiovascular diseases.
    • Appropriately utilize cardiovascular diagnostic testing.
    • Implement disease prevention and risk factor control measures, addressing comorbidities.
    • Work effectively to promote and coordinate interdisciplinary, patient-centered care.
    • Engage in lifelong learning to maintain and enhance knowledge and skills.
  3. There are a number of ways physicians can maintain competency and expand lifelong learning in the course of practice (assuring currency with the evolving art and science of the field), and assess their own professional needs for education and performance improvement.
  4. Objective evaluation of competence in the practice setting can be challenging, but a number of tools are available for this purpose. These include, for example, 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.
  5. For procedural or diagnostic laboratory activities, assessment tools may include registry and/or hospital data, appropriate use criteria, and metrics developed by professional organizations.
  6. Scholarly activity and clinical research are also important in lifelong learning and professional competency.
  7. All physicians should have the skills to assess new research findings and appropriately incorporate new diagnostic and treatment modalities in patient care.
  8. Knowledge should also be maintained and enhanced through regular reading of journals and other sources of reliable information and attending scholarly scientific meetings and professional congresses.
  9. In addition to clinical competency, cardiologists are expected to function effectively as leaders in allied efforts to assure high quality care and promote individual and population health.
  10. Some of these activities and attributes fall outside the realm of clinical knowledge and skill and instead involve administrative roles in clinical practice, hospitals, health systems, professional societies, or other organizations.

Keywords: Accreditation, Cardiovascular Diseases, Certification, Clinical Competence, Diagnostic Tests, Routine, Education, Medical, Continuing, Education, Medical, Graduate, Learning, Patient Care, Primary Prevention, Risk Factors, Specialty Boards

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