Study Shows Correlation Between Milestone Ratings and Patient Outcomes

March 15, 2024

A recent study published in JAMA Surgery revealed that “ACGME Milestone ratings of “graduating vascular surgeons may be predictive of those surgeons’ risk-adjusted patient outcomes in their early career following a common vascular operation.” Authors of the study include ACGME Board member Dr. Brigitte Smith, ACGME Senior Outcomes Research Scientist Dr. Kenji Yamazaki, and former ACGME Chief Research, Milestone Development, and Evaluation Officer Dr. Eric Holmboe, now Chief Executive Officer at Intealth.

In 2013, the ACGME introduced a requirement for graduate medical education (GME) programs to report Milestones ratings for each learner, aiming to address concerns about variations in quality of care and medical errors. This current research is the latest to shed light on the effectiveness of the Milestones in improving resident education and patient care.

This groundbreaking study, led by expert researchers in vascular surgery, sought to explore the association between ACGME Milestones ratings and post-operative complications for early-career surgeons. The study focused on endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR), a complex procedure critical for high-risk patients. By linking Milestones ratings to patient outcomes using the Vascular Quality Initiative (VQI) registry, researchers aimed to evaluate the predictive power of Milestones in clinical practice.

The study analyzed data from 822 vascular surgeons who completed their educational programs between 2015 and 2019. Milestones ratings were linked to patient outcomes following EVAR, revealing significant insights. Surgeons’ Milestones ratings were found to be potentially predictive of their risk-adjusted patient outcomes in early-career practice. Notably, deviations from program mean ratings played a crucial role, indicating that the Milestones could identify residents at higher risk of complications in independent practice.

These findings hold profound implications for GME and patient care. Milestones ratings could serve as early indicators of residents’ clinical performance, enabling timely interventions and remediation during their educational programs. By leveraging Milestones data, GME programs can optimize education and training curricula and ensure physician competence, thereby enhancing patient safety and outcomes.

The full study can be found on the JAMA website.