The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the American Osteopathic Association and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine are pursuing a unified system—to be ready by July 2015—for accrediting osteopathic graduate medical education programs.
"This is a watershed moment for medical training in the U.S.," Dr. Thomas Nasca
, CEO of the ACGME, said in a news release
. "This would provide physicians in the United States with a uniform path of preparation for practice. This approach would ensure that the evaluation and accountability for the competency of resident physicians are consistent across all programs."
The agreement calls for the ACGME to accredit the osteopathic programs currently accredited by the AOA, and for the AOA and the AACOM to become member organizations of the ACGME—which currently evaluates some 9,000 residency programs in 135 specialties and subspecialties at 700 institutions. These programs train about 116,000 physicians, including 8,900 osteopaths, according to the release. The AOA is accrediting about 1,000 programs, which train about 6,900 osteopathic doctors.
"A unified accreditation system creates an opportunity to set universal standards for demonstrating competency with a focus on positive outcomes and the ability to share information on best practices," Dr. Ray Stowers, AOA president, said in the release.
The current ACGME member organizations are the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies. The AACOM represents 21,000 osteopathic medical students as well as faculty and administrators from the 29 osteopathic medical schools in the U.S.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the AACOM represents 21,000 medical residents. The term "residents" has been corrected to "students."