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August 18, 2021

Assessing Clinical Readiness: A Paradigm Shift in Medical Education

Author Affiliations
  • 1School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University for the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland
  • 2University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California
JAMA Surg. 2021;156(11):999-1000. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2021.3611

“Is my doctor good?” This is a question many of us have attempted to answer for family, friends, colleagues, and patients. Without intimate knowledge of that particular physician’s practice, our answer is built on a combination of medical education, board certification, privileges, academic credentials, and “reputation.” While this method of assessment may be reasonable, it leaves many of us to question how we actually measure competency.

As with previous conflicts, the past nearly 2 decades of war have seen significant advances in combat casualty care to include damage control surgery, improved resuscitation strategies, systems-based practice, and movement of critically ill patients.1 The US Department of Defense (DoD) has a mission to assure that all members of the combat casualty care team are always prepared for deployment and “ready” to practice in combat. On behalf of the nation and those who defend it, the DoD needs to ensure that its physicians can demonstrate proficiency in the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to care for those volunteering to serve. In a joint effort with the American College of Surgeons, the DoD has developed the Clinical Readiness Program (CRP) to answer the question “Is this physician ‘ready’ to deliver the relevant KSAs necessary to care for casualties?”2-4

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    1 Comment for this article
    Is My Doctor Good
    Lawrence Danto, MD, FACS | UCDavis, retired
    Is my doctor good? If your doctor is licensed and boarded, the very probable answer is, “Yes”. The question to point is, “Will my doctor appropriately care for me?” To assure a positive response to this question is why all physicians should be monitored when entering new or unfamiliar practice settings - military or civilian. But do physicians require formal entrance or periodic certification? I don’t believe so.
    Lawrence A. Danto, MD, FACS, CDR USN Retired