ACGME Six Competencies

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is a private, nonprofit council that evaluates and accredits medical residency programs in the United States.

The ACGME was established in 1981, and its mission is to improve health care by assessing and advancing the quality of resident physician’s education through exemplary accreditation.

In academic year 2008-2009, there were 8,734 ACGME – accredited residency programs in 130 specialties and subspecialties. The number of active full-time and part-time residents for academic year 2008-2009 was 109,482.

ACGME recommended all residency programs to evaluate their trainees under six core competencies approved by the ACGME Board February 13, 2007. All residency programs must integrate these competencies into the curriculum.

  • Patient Care
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Practice Based Learning and Improvement
  • Systems Based Practice
  • Professionalism
  • Interpersonal Skills and Communication

Patient Care
Residents must be able to provide patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of health.

Medical Knowledge
Residents must demonstrate knowledge of established and evolving biomedical, clinical, epidemiological and social-behavioral sciences, as well as the application of this knowledge to patient care. Residents are expected to:

Practice-based Learning and Improvement
Residents must demonstrate the ability to investigate and evaluate their care of patients, to appraise and assimilate scientific evidence, and to continuously improve patient care based on constant self-evaluation and life-long learning. Residents are expected to develop skills and habits to be able to meet the following goals:

  • Identify strengths, deficiencies, and limits in one’s knowledge and expertise
  • Set learning and improvement goals
  • Identify and perform appropriate learning activities
  • Systematically analyze practice using quality improvement methods, and implement changes with the goal of practice improvement
  • Incorporate formative evaluation feedback into daily practice
  • Locate, appraise, and assimilate evidence from scientific studies related to their patients’ health problems
  • Use information technology to optimize learning
  • Participate in the education of patients, families, students, residents and other health professionals.

Interpersonal and Communication Skills
Residents must demonstrate interpersonal and communication skills that result in the effective exchange of information and collaboration with patients, their families, and health professionals. Residents are expected to:

  • Communicate effectively with patients, families, and the public, as appropriate, across a broad range of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds
  • Communicate effectively with physicians, other health professionals, and health related agencies
  • Work effectively as a member or leader of a health care team or other professional group
  • Act in a consultative role to other physicians and health professionals
  • Maintain comprehensive, timely, and legible medical records, if applicable.

Residents must demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities and an adherence to ethical principles. Residents are expected to demonstrate:

  • Compassion, integrity, and respect for others
  • Responsiveness to patient needs that supersedes self-interest
  • Respect for patient privacy and autonomy
  • Accountability to patients, society and the profession
  • Sensitivity and responsiveness to a diverse patient population, including but not limited to diversity in gender, age, culture, race, religion, disabilities, and sexual orientation.

Systems-based Practice
Residents must demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger context and system of health care, as well as the ability to call effectively on other resources in the system to provide optimal health care. Residents are expected to:

  • Work effectively in various health care delivery settings and systems relevant to their clinical specialty
  • Coordinate patient care within the health care system relevant to their clinical specialty
  • Incorporate considerations of cost awareness and risk-benefit analysis in patient and/or population-based care as appropriate
  • Advocate for quality patient care and optimal patient care systems
  • Work in inter professional teams to enhance patient safety and improve patient care quality
  • Participate in identifying system errors and implementing potential systems solutions.