Taylor & Francis Group
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Creating and confirming observable professional activities (OPAs): A brief report on the practical approach for OPA design for resident education

posted on 2023-03-27, 17:40 authored by Shane N. Stone, Leslie Rydberg

The transition of graduate medical education to competency-based education systems has resulted in exploration of the efficacy of Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) and related Observable Practice Activities (OPAs) as evaluation tools. EPAs were introduced to PM&R in 2017, but no OPAs have been reported for a non-procedurally based EPA. The primary aims of this study were to create and form consensus on OPAs for the Spinal Cord Injury EPA.

A Modified Delphi panel of seven experts in the field was utilized to gain consensus on ten PM&R OPAs for the Spinal Cord Injury EPA.

After the first round of evaluations, most OPAs were evaluated by experts as requiring modifications (30/70 votes to keep, 34/70 votes to modify) with a majority of comments focusing on the specific content of the OPAs. Edits were made, and after the second round, the OPAs were evaluated and determined to be kept (62/70 votes to keep, 6/70 votes to modify) with most edits being about semantics of the OPAs. Ultimately, there was significant difference in all three categories between round 1 and round 2 (P < 0.0001) and 10 OPAs were finalized for use.

This study created 10 OPAs that can potentially help provide targeted feedback to residents on their competency in caring for patients with spinal cord injury. With regular usage, OPAs are designed to provide residents with insight into how they are progressing towards independent practice. In the future, studies should aim to assess the feasibility and utility of implementing the newly developed OPAs.