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J Grad Med Educ. 2013 Mar;5(1):130-7. doi: 10.4300/JGME-D-12-00130.1.

Operationalizing the internal medicine milestones-an early status report.



The internal medicine milestones were developed to advance outcomes-based residency training and will play an important role in the next accreditation system.


As an element of our program's participation in the internal medicine educational innovations project, we implemented a milestones-based evaluation process in our general medicine and pulmonary-critical care rotations on July 1, 2010.


Outcomes assessed included survey-rated acceptability to participating faculty, residents, and clinical competency committee members.


Faculty and residents agreed that the milestones promoted a common understanding of what knowledge, skills, and attitudes should be displayed at particular points in residents' professional development and enhanced evaluators' ability to provide specific performance feedback. Most residents and faculty members agreed that the milestones promoted fairness and uniformity in the evaluation process. Clinical competency committee members agreed the milestones improved the quality of information available for deliberations and resulted in more uniform promotion standards. Faculty rated the use of too many milestones per form/tool at a mean of 7.3 (where 1 was minimally problematic, and 10 was maximally problematic) and the potential for evaluator fatigue (mean, 8.2) as the most significant challenges to the use of milestones. Eight of 12 faculty members would recommend milestones in other programs; 4 were uncertain.


Despite logistical challenges, educators and trainees found that milestones promoted a common understanding of what knowledge, skills and attitudes should be displayed at particular stages of training; permitted greater specificity in performance feedback; and enhanced uniformity and fairness in promotion decisions.

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