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Systematic review

Vol. 152 No. 4344 (2022)

Entrustable professional activities for residency in general internal medicine: a systematic review:

  • Bastien Valding
  • Matteo Monti
  • Noëlle Junod Perron
  • Sonia Frick
  • Cécile Jaques
  • Mathieu Nendaz
  • David Gachoud
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2022;152:40002


CONTEXT: Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) are observable tasks that are regular parts of a physician’s daily clinical work. Before being permitted to accomplish these tasks independently, trainees must gain their supervisors’ trust. Defining the list of EPAs that should be mastered by the end of a residency is critical to setting clear expectations about autonomous practice.

OBJECTIVE: To collect all the lists of EPAs defined for residencies in general internal medicine and synthesise them into a reference work useful for developing new lists of EPAs or improving existing ones.

METHOD: This systematic review searched five databases and relevant grey literature using keywords related to EPAs and postgraduate education, from 2005, when the first article on EPAs was published, to April 2022. Inclusion criteria were the availability of an EPAs list and a focus on general internal medicine. Two reviewers independently selected the studies, extracted data and performed a quality assessment using QATSDD and AACODS tools. Mean values and inter-rater reliability were calculated.

RESULTS: The review yielded 3292 records, with 16 articles meeting the inclusion criteria, mostly from North America. Synthesising their 16 lists generated 395 EPAs. The reviewers then inductively categoried those EPAs, 308 of which fell into 6 domains, 14 themes and 24 subthemes. The domains were: (1) care and management of the general adult population (n = 103 EPAs); (2) care and management of patients with specific needs (n = 67); (3) care coordination and communication (n = 52); (4) management and leadership (N = 21); (5) healthcare quality, education, and research (n = 41); and (6) miscellaneous (n = 24). The remaining 87 EPAs were disease-specific and did not fit into this categorisation.

CONCLUSIONS: Categorising EPAs created a unique synthesis of the existing lists of EPAs for educating residents in general internal medicine. This synthesis could be used as a reference for anyone tasked with developing new lists of EPAs or improving existing ones.


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