Five fast facts about CBME learned at ICRE

Competency-based medical education (CBME) was a major topic in presentations and during discussion at the recent International Conference on Residency Education (ICRE). Whether you participated in the research and faculty development programming, associated administrative meetings or informal networking opportunities, CBME was front and centre. Here are five important take-aways from the conference.


1.    Postgraduate Medical Education Deans met with leaders of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and Specialty Committee Chairs to decide which programs would launch in 2018. The result? Five Schulich Medicine programs will be launching CBME July 1, 2018: Surgical Foundations, Urology, Emergency Medicine, Nephrology and Medical Oncology. Stayed tuned for the Royal College ePortfolio pre-launch activities for each of these specialties.

2.    Programs not yet launching needn’t sit on their hands and wait. The ICRE’s 'In the meantime…' Workshop, expertly facilitated by Drs. Sherbino, McIsaac and Anderson, was filled with valuable information aimed at what any program can do prior to an official launch, including: 

  • Pilot a Competence Committee, ensuring a shared mental model for the assessment process;
  • Use the ePortfolio assessment tools now to 'enable learners to collect evidence to progress';
  • Engage residents to teach faculty about technology.
3.    Two key messages for front-line teaching faculty stood out: 
  • Have a brief discussion with your resident on what is to be assessed, then watch with intention and provide narrative comments that coach. CBME is not the Entrustable Professional Activity (EPA) Hunger Games;
  • Find your 'First Followers' and then your program has momentum.
4.    Schools are continuing to register faculty in the Royal College ePortfolio. Programs will want to think about which faculty will need access in order to assess not only residents in their home program, but also off-service residents. The RCSPC is working to simplify the process of registration.

5.    Curriculum mapping can begin any time. Even if your program’s specialty committee has not completed development of EPAs and milestones, take time to evaluate your current curriculum. Take note of what happens where and when. Consider whether there will be rotations on which you may no longer send your residents and recognize the need to communicate with those clinical services ahead of time.