Journalists Call for Graduate Medical Exam Transparency
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 11:07 AM

"Transparency" has been a word recently floating around graduate medical education (GME).  Last month, the Institute of Medicine called for an overhaul in the $15 billion per year the government spends on GME, arguing that there was little data on how well public-funded training prepared residents for the demands of practicing medicine.  Adding to the chorus of requests for additional information on GME training was the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ).

Currently, the private, nonprofit Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) includes accreditation decisions for 9,500 residency training programs in 140 specialty and subspecialties.  Health care Journalists asked for two things of the ACGME – reasons why individual programs and institutions have favorable or less-than-favorable accreditation status; and the percentage of residents who pass their board exams, as well as the threshold set by each ACGME residency review committee for what constitutes an acceptable program pass rate.

One week later, the ACGME declined the request.  

The whole of medicine is growing more transparent," the journalists said. "It seems the ACGME's sense of secrecy is behind the times."  On the other hand, ACGME cited confidentiality as an important component of the voluntary peer review accreditation process. "Confidentiality promotes completeness of exchange of information, which in turn is necessary for accreditation to function as intended. Disclosure ... would have a chilling effect on ACGME's ability to receive and provide full and frank information and evaluations, and would ultimately reduce confidence in the quality assurance aspect of accreditation."