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Med Teach. 2008;30(6):e161-9. doi: 10.1080/01421590802047307.

Improvement of residents' clinical competency after the introduction of new postgraduate medical education program in Japan.

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Teikyo University, Tokyo, Japan.



In 2004, the Japanese government reformed the monospecialty-oriented postgraduate medical education (PGME) program and introduced a new PGME program to develop the primary care skills of physicians by mandatory rotation through different clinical departments.


(1) to evaluate whether residents' clinical competency improved after the introduction of the new PGME program and (2) to compare the change in competency between university and non-university residents.


Surveys were conducted before and after the introduction of the new PGME, i.e. in 2004 (response rate 88%) and 2006 (88%). One in every five residents was sampled, and the study subjects were 2474 second-year residents (1762 university residents and 712 non-university residents) in 2004 who were about to complete the previous PGME program and 1166 second-year residents (487 and 679) in 2006 who were the first generation to complete the new PGME program. The clinical competency ratings were measured by the proportion of respondents reporting 'experience' in 24 clinical specialties and three items regarding the use of medical records and 'confidence' in 35 clinical skills and knowledge items in four areas (i.e basic medicine, allied areas, behavioural science and social medicine, and clinical research).


Compared to the residents in 2004, the clinical experience and confidence level of the residents increased dramatically for almost all of the surveyed items in 2006, regardless of the type of teaching hospital (chi-square or Fisher's exact tests, P < 0.0001). The marked improvement in the clinical competency of university residents was noticeable, resulting in the disappearance of the historical trend for non-university residents to obtain significantly more clinical experience than university residents.


The new PGME program appears to have been successful at improving both the clinical experience and confidence levels of medical residents, especially at university hospitals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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