Shortening the Miles to the Milestones: Connecting EPA-Based Evaluations to ACGME Milestone Reports for Internal Medicine Residency Programs

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The Next Accreditation System requires internal medicine training programs to provide the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) with semiannual information about each resident’s progress in 22 subcompetency domains. Evaluation of resident “trustworthiness” in performing entrustable professional activities (EPAs) may offer a more tangible assessment construct than evaluations based on expectations of usual progression toward competence. However, translating results from EPA-based evaluations into ACGME milestone progress reports has proven to be challenging because the constructs that underlay these two systems differ.

The authors describe a process to bridge the gap between rotation-specific EPA-based evaluations and ACGME milestone reporting. Developed at the University of Washington in 2012 and 2013, this method involves mapping EPA-based evaluation responses to “milestone elements,” the narrative descriptions within the columns of each of the 22 internal medicine subcompetencies. As faculty members complete EPA-based evaluations, the mapped milestone elements are automatically marked as “confirmed.” Programs can maintain a database that tallies the number of times each milestone element is confirmed for a resident; these data can be used to produce graphical displays of resident progress along the internal medicine milestones.

Using this count of milestone elements allows programs to bridge the gap between faculty assessments of residents based on rotation-specific observed activities and semiannual ACGME reports based on the internal medicine milestones. Although potentially useful for all programs, this method is especially beneficial to large programs where clinical competency committee members may not have the opportunity for direct observation of all residents.

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