Competency-Based Medical Education for Fellowship Training During COVID-19

Arrighi JA, Mendes LA, McConnaughey S, on behalf of the ACC Competency Management Committee.
Competency-Based Medical Education for Fellowship Training During the COVID-19 Pandemic. J Am Coll Cardiol 2021;Mar 9:[Epub ahead of print].

The following are key points to remember from the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Competency Management Committee statement on competency-based medical education (CBME) for fellowship training during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic:

  1. The ACC Competency Management Committee has published several CBME training statements for the various cardiovascular disease fellowship programs, establishing competencies or skills a trainee needs prior to completing fellowship. Along with this, there are suggestions for duration of training experiences and number of procedures performed.
  2. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced some challenges for some training programs and trainees to meet the suggested time and procedural number-based criteria in the training statements. However, it is important to note that these numerical criteria only represent one framework for assessing competence. CBME requires a more holistic approach.
  3. Program directors and fellowship program assessment committees should be empowered to consider a trainee ready to complete fellowship training, even in cases where procedural volumes have not been met, assuming a trainee has been deemed competent by other measures.
  4. Fellowship programs will still need to take into consideration requirements for board certification and hospital credentialing, though there may be flexibility in this as governing bodies consider how to allow for changes due to the pandemic.
  5. Many of the eligibility criteria for cardiology board certification exams do not have minimum procedural numbers.
  6. For some procedural intensive specialties (e.g., interventional cardiology, electrophysiology), there are some procedural number criteria required for board eligibility but there is flexibility in the requirements.
  7. For some of the specialty imaging board exams, considerations are ongoing for ways to provide increased flexibility due to challenges of the pandemic.
  8. Despite the challenges created in the educational environment by the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been important innovations during this time to cardiology training, and an increased focus on CBME and flexibility in training.

Keywords: Cardiology Interventions, Certification, Competency-Based Education, COVID-19, Diagnostic Imaging, Education, Medical, Electrophysiology, Fellows in Training, Fellowships and Scholarships, Specialty Boards

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