In 2018, Canadian postgraduate emergency medicine (EM) programs began implementing a competency-based medical education (CBME) assessment program. Studies evaluating these programs have focused on broad outcomes using data from national bodies and lack data to support program-specific improvement.
We evaluated the implementation of a CBME assessment program within and across programs to identify successes and opportunities for improvement at the local and national levels.
Program-level data from the 2018 resident cohort were amalgamated and analyzed. The number of entrustable professional activity (EPA) assessments (overall and for each EPA) and the timing of resident promotion through program stages were compared between programs and to the guidelines provided by the national EM specialty committee. Total EPA observations from each program were correlated with the number of EM and pediatric EM rotations.
Data from 15 of 17 (88%) programs containing 9842 EPA observations from 68 of 77 (88%) EM residents in the 2018 cohort were analyzed. Average numbers of EPAs observed per resident in each program varied from 92.5 to 229.6, correlating with the number of blocks spent on EM and pediatric EM (r = 0.83, P < .001). Relative to the specialty committee's guidelines, residents were promoted later than expected (eg, one-third of residents had a 2-month delay to promotion from the first to second stage) and with fewer EPA observations than suggested.
There was demonstrable variation in EPA-based assessment numbers and promotion timelines between programs and with national guidelines.