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Toward a Common Taxonomy of Competency Domains for the Health Professions and Competencies for Physicians

Englander, Robert MD, MPH; Cameron, Terri MA; Ballard, Adrian J.; Dodge, Jessica; Bull, Janet MA; Aschenbrener, Carol A. MD

doi: 10.1097/ACM.0b013e31829a3b2b
Articles

Although health professions worldwide are shifting to competency-based education, no common taxonomy for domains of competence and specific competencies currently exists. In this article, the authors describe their work to (1) identify domains of competence that could accommodate any health care profession and (2) extract a common set of competencies for physicians from existing health professions’ competency frameworks that would be robust enough to provide a single, relevant infrastructure for curricular resources in the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC’s) MedEdPORTAL and Curriculum Inventory and Reports (CIR) sites.

The authors used the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)/American Board of Medical Specialties six domains of competence and 36 competencies delineated by the ACGME as their foundational reference list. They added two domains described by other groups after the original six domains were introduced: Interprofessional Collaboration (4 competencies) and Personal and Professional Development (8 competencies). They compared the expanded reference list (48 competencies within eight domains) with 153 competency lists from across the medical education continuum, physician specialties and subspecialties, countries, and health care professions. Comparison analysis led them to add 13 “new” competencies and to conflate 6 competencies into 3 to eliminate redundancy.

The AAMC will use the resulting “Reference List of General Physician Competencies” (58 competencies in eight domains) to categorize resources for MedEdPORTAL and CIR. The authors hope that researchers and educators within medicine and other health professions will consider using this reference list when applicable to move toward a common taxonomy of competencies.

Dr. Englander is senior director, Competency-based Learning and Assessment, Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC.

Ms. Cameron is director, Curriculum Management, Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC.

Mr. Ballard is educational content specialist, Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC.

Ms. Dodge is a second-year medical student, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut.

Ms. Bull is lead specialist, Competency-based Learning and Assessment, Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC.

Dr. Aschenbrener is chief medical education officer, Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, DC.

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at http://links.lww.com/ACADMED/A138.

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Englander, Association of American Medical Colleges, 2450 N St., NW, Washington, DC 20037; telephone: (202) 828-0255; fax: (202) 828-1125; e-mail: renglander@aamc.org.

© 2013 by the Association of American Medical Colleges