What's missing from physician core competencies

The biggest gaps in physician core competencies are in communication skills and systems-based practice, according to a new white paper from the American Hospital Association's Physician Leadership Forum.

AHA asked regional policy groups, governing boards and committees to review the six competencies from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and the American Board of Medical Specialties and rank the competencies as relevant to their organizations.

Although AHA groups ranked interpersonal and communication skills as necessary competencies for delivery of next-generation healthcare, they also noted it was one area of the biggest gaps. For effective information exchange and effective work as a healthcare team, hospitals can offer support to physicians in life-long learning.

In addition to communication skills, the AHA survey found that another evident competency gap revolved around systems-based practice, including providing cost-conscious, effective care and coordinating with other providers.

"All care providers will need new skills and knowledge to reach this triple aim," of improving the care experience, population health and curbing costs, the report states. "As healthcare financing moves from volume-based to value-based payments, clinicians will be required to work in inter-professional teams, coordinate care across settings, utilize evidence-based practices to improve quality and patient safety and promote greater efficiency in care delivery. The healthcare system will need to adapt to support these changes, and hospitals and health systems will need to acquire new competencies."

With hospitals employing 20 percent of practicing physicians, according to the report, it's vital that the two parties share responsibility. Survey respondents suggested linking medical staff reappointment requirements to the core competencies and using 360-degree feedback evaluations for residents, as well as offering clear financial alignment for those competencies.

To address the gaps, some organizations noted they provide leadership training for administrators and physicians, as well as multi-disciplinary team training and team-based rounds.

"We encourage AHA members and physician groups to collaborate on ways hospitals can begin to ingrain the competencies into their organizations and create a workforce of the future," AHA Senior Vice President and paper coauthor John Combes said in an AHA News Now brief.

For more information:
- read the AHA News Now brief
- check out the report (registration required)

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