Purpose To examine internal medicine (IM) residency program directors' (PDs') perspectives on the Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency (Core EPAs) - introduced into undergraduate medical education to further competency-based assessment - and on communicating competency-based information during transitions. Method A spring 2015 Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine survey asked PDs of U.S. IM residency programs for their perspectives on which Core EPAs new interns must or should possess on day 1, which are most essential, and which have the largest gap between expected and observed performance. Their views and preferences were also requested regarding communicating competency-based information at transitions from medical school to residency and residency to fellowship/employment. Results The response rate was 57% (204/361 programs). The majority of PDs felt new interns must/should possess 12 of the 13 Core EPAs. PDs' rankings of Core EPAs by relative importance were more varied than their rankings by the largest gaps in performance. Although preferred timing varied, most PDs (82%) considered it important for medical schools to communicate Core EPA-based information to PDs; nearly three-quarters (71%) would prefer a checklist format. Many (60%) would be willing to provide competency-based evaluations to fellowship directors/employers. Most (> 80%) agreed that there should be a bidirectional communication mechanism for programs/employers to provide feedback on competency assessments. Conclusions The gaps identified in Core EPA performance may help guide medical schools' curricular and assessment tool design. Sharing competency-based information at transitions along the medical education continuum could help ensure production of competent, practice-ready physicians.
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