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Undergrad Medical Programs Benefit From Elentra’s “One-Stop Shopping”

Undergraduate medical programs face a unique challenge. Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) are essential to today’s Competency-Based Medical Education (CBME). But how can assessing EPAs be best incorporated into the assessment of more traditionally-based curricular models?

The good news: Elentra has a solution. Dr. Jodi Herold, Elentra’s senior implementation lead, CBE, says that Elentra provides “one stop shopping.” That’s quite a contrast to assessment tools some undergraduate programs have been relying on, a mix that often includes off-the-shelf survey software.

“Learning management and assessment management systems typically used in the undergraduate context have limitations when it comes to EPAs,” says Jodi. “They don’t have the capability to support the collection of assessment data on EPAs at the same time as traditional assessment methodologies connected to things like assignments, exams and marks. But Elentra can manage both.”

The need to have a unified system is in part because CBME has been mandated for undergraduate departments by the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada and by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Elentra, with its established capabilities for post-graduate learners, was designed to assist faculty and educational leadership in monitoring individual’s progress towards achieving EPAs. Given that successfully meeting EPAs is necessary for all future physicians and health care workers, the ability to chart this development and growth is crucial. Jodi calls the notion of entrustment “a hot topic.”

“It’s the next wave in professional education. Rather than saying ‘we expect if you sat in your lectures and read the textbook you’ll come out four years later knowing what you’re doing,’ it’s now about demonstrating the skills required. Entrustment is tied directly to the notion of competence. It’s based on a supervisor knowing ‘I’ve seen this person do this often and competently enough that I now trust them to do it without looking over their shoulder.’”

In the undergraduate context EPAs may be less dramatic than in the post-grad, (taking a medical history vs. delivering a baby, for example), but they are still necessary for measuring a learner’s progress — and can reveal when a person is out of their depth. But some of the data concerning EPAs lives outside the traditional structure of an undergraduate medical curriculum. The beauty of Elentra is its capacity to accommodate both traditional curricular needs and innovations related to CBME.

Bonus: Elentra’s ability to track data not only shows individual progress across a program, it also facilitates program evaluations. It helps reveal why learners may struggle with a specific aspect of a program (for instance if there’s not enough opportunity for students to gain a specific competency). Elentra makes it easy to tailor curriculum to where the needs are — important for both future health care professionals and for their future patients.

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