Competency-based continuing professional development
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Competence is traditionally viewed as the attainment of a static set of attributes rather than a dynamic process in which physicians continuously use their practice experiences to "progress in competence" toward the attainment of expertise. A competency-based continuing professional development (CPD) model is premised on a set of learning competencies that include the ability to (a) use practice information to identify learning priorities and to develop and monitor CPD plans; (b) access information sources for innovations in development and new evidence that may potentially be integrated into practice; (c) establish a personal knowledge management system to store and retrieve evidence and to select and manage learning projects; (d) construct questions, search for evidence, and record and track conclusions for practice; and (e) use tools and processes to measure competence and performance and develop action plans to enhance practice. Competency-based CPD emphasizes self-directed learning processes and promotes the role of assessment as a professional expectation and obligation. Various approaches to defining general competencies for practice require the creation of specific performance metrics to be meaningful and relevant to the lifelong learning strategies of physicians. This paper describes the assumptions, advantages, and challenges of establishing a CPD system focused on competencies that improve physician performance and the quality and safety of patient care. Implications for competency-based CPD are discussed from an individual and organizational perspective, and a model to bridge the transition from residency to practice is explored.
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