Measurement Lags as Competency-Based Education Grows in Importance

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE

Few developments in healthcare management education—and its accreditation—have been as important and impactful as the evolution toward competency-based education (CBE). The emphasis on competencies has meant that programs have had to transition away from merely imparting management knowledge and skills to students in favor of measuring what students can accomplish with the knowledge, skills and behavior they acquire. Studying leadership is useful; actually leading is a competency.

After several years of review and collaborative discussion, CAHME introduced CBE as an important standard for accreditation in 2007 and in 2013 fully committed to CBE by removing curriculum content from our accreditation criteria. With more than five years of accreditation visits since then, we are able to draw some conclusions about how programs have fared. While support for CBE has been strong among programs and employers, a majority of programs continue to struggle in measuring their students’ achievement of competencies. Reviews of both empirical and anecdotal data by CAHME leadership and staff suggest that more than two-thirds of programs either “partially met” or “did not meet” criteria for assessing competencies.

CAHME is committed to helping programs both adopt competency standards and to improve measurement of competencies. CAHME’s benchmarking tool enables programs to review other programs that have succeeded in measuring competencies. All new CAHME programs are automatically subscribed to Enhanced Benchmarking, and 82 percent of accredited programs participate.  A recorded webinar on the site helps to explain the capabilities as well. It is also a major focus for our ongoing series of CAHME Boot Camps, which will again be held at the annual meetings of ACHE and AUPHA.

In 2020, CAHME is committed to publish a White Paper that will focus on competency measurement.  We appreciate the support of Peregrine Academic Services in helping to underwrite the costs of the white paper.

The use of competencies will continue to expand. Our recent certification standards for programs in Healthcare Quality and Safety includes competency assessment. CAHME also supports the International Hospital Federation in creating global management competencies. (I had the honor of co-authoring  the recently published article in the World Hospitals and Health Services Journalalong with Bernardo Ramirez of the University of Central California, Dan West of the University of Scranton, and Bob Hernandez of the University of Alabama at Birmingham that discusses competencies in global accreditation.)

CBE is a vitally important standard for accreditation. It validates quality education to program stakeholders, makes graduates more attractive to employers, provides an opportunity for consultation and feedback from colleagues, and underscores the importance of continuous improvement. In short, CAHME’s commitment to competency-based education is a cornerstone in our mission of advancing the quality of healthcare management education.

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE
President & CEO