Objective: A panel of Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors (CORD) members was asked to examine and make recommendations regarding the existing Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) EM Program Requirements pertaining to educational conferences, identified best practices, and recommended revisions as appropriate.
Methods: Using quasi-Delphi technique, 30 emergency medicine (EM) residency program directors and faculty examined existing requirements. Findings were presented to the CORD members attending the 2008 CORD Academic Assembly, and disseminated to the broader membership through the CORD e-mail list server.
Results: The following four ACGME EM Program Requirements were examined, and recommendations made:
- 1The 5 hours/week conference requirement: For fully accredited programs in good standing, outcomes should be driving how programs allocate and mandate educational time. Maintain the 5 hours/week conference requirement for new programs, programs with provisional accreditation, programs in difficult political environs, and those with short accreditation cycles. If the program requirements must retain a minimum hours/week reference, future requirements should take into account varying program lengths (3 versus 4 years).
- 2The 70% attendance requirement: Develop a new requirement that allows programs more flexibility to customize according to local resources, individual residency needs, and individual resident needs.
- 3The requirement for synchronous versus asynchronous learning: Synchronous and asynchronous learning activities have advantages and disadvantages. The ideal curriculum capitalizes on the strengths of each through a deliberate mixture of each.
- 4Educationally justified innovations: Transition from process-based program requirements to outcomes-based requirements.
Conclusions: The conference requirements that were logical and helpful years ago may not be logical or helpful now. Technologies available to educators have changed, the amount of material to cover has grown, and online on-demand education has grown even more. We believe that flexibility is needed to customize EM education to suit individual resident and individual program needs, to capitalize on regional and national resources when local resources are limited, to innovate, and to analyze and evaluate interventions with an eye toward outcomes.