First step: Preparing for your RRC accreditation review

Residency Program Insider, December 21, 2005

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Dear residency program colleague:

Program directors struggle to determine the best strategy for ensuring a successful and substantive accreditation review of their GME program by a residency review committee. However, the solution could be as simple as telling a non-fictional, positive and uplifting story. The story should enlighten you, your faculty, your residents, your institutional colleagues, and RRC members.

Your story must begin shortly after you receive your RRC accreditation result letter, which provides an opportunity to appreciate and build on your successes. Review the letter, understand what went right, and don't dwell on what went wrong. Use this information to begin planning and preparing for your next site visit.

Keep in mind the importance of moving past any intellectual disagreements with the RRC findings. If the site visitor appeared to have misunderstood or incorrectly reported an issue that led to a citation or if the RRC reviewers or staff appear to have erred, again, unless truly egregious, let it be. Never send an angry letter or a clarifying letter back to the RRC unless requested to do so by the reviewers.

The most important part of constructing the beginning to the story for the next visit is to correct any real deficiencies and to document your corrections. View the result letter as an opportunity to improve your program. View it as focal point for rallying your faculty, your coordinators, your residents, and your institutional GME leaders and others toward collaboration for real, continuous program improvements. And view it as legitimate leverage to argue for additional institutional and clinical department resources, if appropriate.

In preparation for your next RRC review, you must describe in the beginning of your story how you corrected past deficiencies. Nothing raises a red flag to an RRC more than a failure to correct a previous citation.

Take the positives and negatives of the just completed RRC review and use them as the opening scenes for the new story.

That's all for this week!

All the best,

Shepard Cohen
Excellence in Graduate Medical Education

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