Internal medicine training programs operate under the assumption that the three-year residency training period is sufficient for trainees to achieve the depth and breadth of clinical experience necessary for independent practice; however, the medical conditions to which residents are exposed in clinical practice are not easily measured. As a result, residents’ clinical educational experiences are poorly understood.
A crosswalk tool (a repository of international classification of diseases [ICD]-10 codes linked to medical content areas) was developed to query routinely collected inpatient principal diagnosis codes and translate them into an educationally meaningful taxonomy. This tool provides a robust characterization of residents’ inpatient clinical experiences.
This pilot study has provided proof of principle that the crosswalk tool can effectively map one year of resident-attributed diagnosis codes to both the broad content category level (for example “Cardiovascular Disease”) and to the more specific condition category level (for example “Myocardial Disease”). The authors uncovered content areas in their training program that are overrepresented and some that are underrepresented relative to material on the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Certification Exam.
The crosswalk tool introduced here translated residents’ patient care activities into discrete, measurable educational content and enabled one internal medicine residency training program to characterize residents’ inpatient educational experience with a high degree of resolution. Leaders of other programs seeking to profile the clinical exposure of their trainees may adopt this strategy. Such clinical content mapping drives innovation in the experiential curriculum, enables comparison across practice sites, and lays the groundwork to test associations between individual clinical exposure and competency-based outcomes, which, in turn, will allow medical educators to draw conclusions regarding how clinical experience reflects clinical competency.