March 24, 2022
The American Board of Surgery (ABS) is seeking proposals for creation of a secure, interactive platform and data repository to facilitate the implementation of Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) at more than 350 ACGME-certified surgical residencies in the United States and its territories.
The ABS is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 to provide board certification to individuals who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge in the field of surgery. Surgeons certified by the ABS, known as diplomates, have completed at least five years of residency training following medical school, have met all ABS training requirements, and have successfully completed the ABS examination process.
The mission of the ABS is to serve the public and the specialty of surgery by providing leadership in surgical education and practice, by promoting excellence through rigorous evaluation and examination, and by promoting the highest standards for professionalism, lifelong learning, and the continuous certification of surgeons in practice.
Surgical education in the 21st century must transform to accommodate dynamic change within the surgical profession. Although current processes are rigorous, program directors seek greater transparency and documentation regarding residents’ competence. Residents seek a road map guiding them to successful completion of their training with the support of plentiful feedback along the way.
EPAs represent a promising tool that enables meaningful, representative and regular workplace-based assessment that in turn informs, guides, and documents progression of competence through direct observation in the clinical performance environment. An EPA is an essential activity of a discipline that an individual can be trusted to perform without supervision in a given health care context, once sufficient competence has been demonstrated. The EPA evaluation technique is iterative, requiring multiple observations of a trainee. Via EPA-based assessments, residents receive detailed, tangible, and contextualized feedback. As a foundational assessment tool, EPAs are one critical piece of a competency-based educational model.
To explore the utility and feasibility of this assessment model in graduate surgical education, the ABS convened representatives from key stakeholder groups to develop five initial EPAs for general surgery, which map to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) milestones, and were piloted in 28 programs from 2018-2020. The pilot primarily focused on identifying barriers to and enabling factors for implementation, explored related best practices in the collection and reporting of data, and evaluated whether EPAs informed and correlated with ACGME and RRC-S specialty-specific milestones.
In response to the lessons gathered and the promise demonstrated, the ABS is now in the process of developing 14 additional EPAs to complete a full representative complement for general surgery, and will subsequently plan for a similar process for its other specialty areas.
This RFP follows on the above intensive multicenter longitudinal pilot program examining the first five general surgery EPA assessments. Beginning in July of 2023, all general surgery residiency programs in the US will be required to use the fully developed suite of EPAs as a tool for resident assessment and feedback. In turn, the resident class commencing training that year and completing training in 2028 will be required to provide attestation of entrustment decisions across 19 EPAs to the ABS as part of resident application for admission to the ABS certifying process.
Therefore, ABS is soliciting proposals from qualified vendors for the purpose of providing a mobile platform for the collection of EPA micro-assessments, the secure management of aggregated assessment data, and output reporting for key stakeholder groups so as to facilitate the above processes.
Full details about this RFP, including scope of services, timelines, structure or proposals and evaluation metrics, are available at the following link:
Final submissions will be accepted by email only. All proposals must be submitted as an attachment in PDF format. Full RFP details and contact information to submit a proposal can be found in this PDF.