Identifying Core Components of EPA Implementation: A Path to Knowing if a Complex Intervention Is Being Implemented as Intended

Sep 01, 2021 | Carraccio

PURPOSE: Competency-based assessment, using entrustable professional activities (EPAs), is rapidly being implemented worldwide without sufficient agreement on the essential elements of EPA-based assessment. The rapidity of implementation has left little time to understand what works in what circumstances and why or why not. The result is the attempted execution of a complex service intervention without a shared mental model for features needed to remain true to implementing an EPA assessment framework as intended. The purpose of this study was to identify the essential core components necessary to maintain integrity in the implementation of this intended intervention.

METHOD: A formal consensus-building technique, the Delphi process, was used to identify core components for implementing an EPA-based assessment framework. Twelve EPA experts from the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands participated in this process in February and March 2020. In each Delphi round, participants rated possible core components on a scale from 1 to 6, with 1 reflecting the worst fit and 6 the best fit for EPA-based assessment implementation. Predetermined automatic inclusion and exclusion criteria for candidate core components were set at ≥ 80% of participants assigning a value of 5 or 6 and ≥ 80% assigning a value of 1 or 2, respectively.

RESULTS: After 3 rounds, participants prioritized 10 of 19 candidate core components for inclusion: performance prediction, shared local mental model, workplace assessment, high-stakes entrustment decisions, outcomes based, value of the collective, informed clinical competency committee members, construct alignment, qualitative data, and entrustment decision consequences. The study closed after 3 rounds on the basis of the rankings and comments.

CONCLUSIONS: Using the core components identified in this study advances efforts to implement an EPA assessment framework intervention as intended, which mitigates the likelihood of making an incorrect judgment that the intervention demonstrates negative results.

PubMed Abstract

Carraccio, C., Martini, A., Van Melle, E., & Schumacher, D. J. (2021). Identifying Core Components of EPA Implementation: A Path to Knowing if a Complex Intervention Is Being Implemented as Intended. Acad Med, 96(9), 1332-1336. doi:10.1097/acm.0000000000004075