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New ACS Statement Addresses Need for Surgeons to Sustain Lifelong Competency

The ACS has released a statement that addresses the age-old question about lifelong competency and surgeons. Updating a statement released in 2015, the ACS recommends implementation of a “comprehensive, whole-of-career testing strategy for all surgeons and surgical trainees regardless of age and experience.”

The statement was informed by new research published online on April 9 in the Journal of the American College of Surgeons (JACS), by Todd K. Rosengart, MD, FACS, from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, Adam M. Kopelan, MD, FACS, from Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey, and other members of the ACS Board of Governors Physician Competency and Health Workgroup.

The article, “Sustaining the Lifelong Competency of Surgeons: A Multimodality Empowerment Personal and Institutional Strategy,” provides findings from a review of 62 studies comparing age and outcomes.

While many studies found a correlation between increased age and worse patient outcomes, data contradicting those findings also were noted.

In addition, both the ACS Statement and the JACS article posed the question of who should lead the effort to develop competency assessments and associated policy.

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