Q: One of our programs is due for an internal review in October 2012. What process should we use to conduct this?
A: The answer to this question depends on whether your program has not been moved to NAS or if it is one of the first seven specialties and their subspecialties which are the early adopters of NAS. (Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, Neurological Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Pediatrics, Diagnostic Radiology, and Urology.) Make sure you read the answer that applies to your program below:
Programs Not in NAS: The process for internal reviews remains the same; DIOs are still required to schedule internal reviews.
Programs in NAS: DIOs are not required to schedule internal reviews for the early adopter specialties that have received notice of an extended date for program self-study visits. However, it is important to note: programs that are early adopters that have short cycles and have not received an extended date for self-study visits are still required to do internal reviews.
Programs Not in NAS: Institutions should review their internal review schedule to ensure that all programs that are not in NAS are accounted for and scheduled for their internal reviews. GMECs should review their internal review protocol to ensure that it is updated to include the additional elements that were added to the institutional requirements in July 2011. If your program has not entered NAS, it is business as usual.
Programs in NAS: While it may seem like good news that internal reviews are no longer required, it is critical to keep in mind that internal reviews serve(ed) a vital function for GMEC oversight of programs. Institutions should begin thinking about how they can continue the spirit of the internal review. All GMECs should be engaged with and continue thoroughly assessing their programs via annual reviews, mid-point reviews and/or other assigned times. Quality improvement mechanisms for programs will remain in NAS; what is unknown is what expectations the IRC will have for institutions in accomplishing this in the absence of required, scheduled internal reviews.