Gathering Trainee Feedback to Improve Programs With Low Annual ACGME Survey Content Area Compliance: A Pilot Study

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Academic medicine


PROBLEM: Systematically investigating annual Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Resident/Fellow Survey results by directly gathering trainee feedback could uncover training program problems and clarify misunderstandings as they arise, leading to faster corrective actions and program improvement.

APPROACH: The Focus Group Forum (FGF) was created based on the utilization-focused evaluation approach to systematically gather comprehensive, high-quality, actionable trainee feedback on specific annual ACGME survey results and involve trainees in program improvement (Henry Ford Hospital, 2021). Trainees from programs with survey results indicating <80% compliance within several content areas were invited to attend FGF sessions. During FGF sessions, neutral moderators experienced in conducting focus groups and creating psychologically safe spaces and neutral scribes gathered trainee feedback on survey results through structured, iterative discussions and an anonymous electronic polling system. Summaries of FGF findings were created, combined with actual annual ACGME survey data, and used to develop recommended corrective actions and monitoring plans.

OUTCOMES: In 2021, 6 training programs had survey results below the institution's compliance threshold for 4-8 of the 9 content areas. Of the 180 trainees (from the 6 programs) invited to attend an FGF session, 79 (44%) participated. Five key issues were identified: misinterpretation of several survey questions, lack of knowledge of institutional policies and procedures, perceived inability to share feedback with faculty, feelings of being overwhelmed with administrative duties, and lack of sufficient protected time for educational activities and requirements.

NEXT STEPS: The authors are developing an FGF process for faculty so that all stakeholders have a voice regarding annual ACGME survey results. They are also improving scheduling processes so that feedback from experienced trainees who are leaving the institution will not be missed and developing longer-term processes for tracking outcomes since time for implementing corrective actions before the next ACGME survey is limited.

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ePub ahead of print