Medical EducationOriginal Article

Developing Osteopathic Competencies in Geriatrics for Medical Students

Donald R. Noll, DO; Millicent King Channell, DO; Pamela M. Basehore, EdD, MPH; Sherry C. Pomerantz, PhD; Janice Ciesielski, MS; Patrick Arekhandia Eigbe, OMS I; and Anita Chopra, MD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 14, 2012

Accepted: September 26, 2012

Published: April 1, 2013

J Osteopath Med; 113(4): 276-289

Context: Minimum core competencies for allopathic medical students in the specialty area of geriatrics have been developed, comprising 26 competencies divided into 8 topical domains. These competencies are appropriate for osteopathic medical students, but they do not include competencies relating to osteopathic principles and practice (OPP) in geriatrics. There remains a need within the osteopathic profession to develop specialty-specific competencies specific to OPP.

Objectives: To develop more specific and comprehensive minimum competencies in OPP for osteopathic medical students in the field of geriatric medicine.

Methods: The Delphi technique (a structured communication technique that uses a panel of experts to reach consensus) was adapted to generate new core competencies relating to OPP. Osteopathic geriatricians and members of the Educational Council on Osteopathic Principles (ECOP) of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine participated in a breakout session and 2 rounds of surveys. Proposed competencies with 80% of the participants ranking it as “very important and should be added as a competency” were retained. Participants were also asked if they agreed that competencies in OPP should include specific types of osteopathic manipulative treatment techniques for the elderly.

Results: Responses were received from 26 osteopathic physician experts: 17 ECOP members and 9 geriatricians. Fourteen proposed competencies were developed: 7 related to the existing topic domains, and 7 were placed into a new domain of osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM). Six proposed competencies were retained, all of which were in the new OMM domain. These competencies related to using OMM for gait and balance assessment, knowing adverse events and contraindications of OMM, using OMM for pain relief and end-of-life care, using OMM in the hospital and nursing home setting, adapting OMM to fit an elderly individual, and using OMM to address limited range of motion and ability to perform activities of daily living. Thirteen of 22 participants (59%) agreed that OPP competencies should include specific osteopathic manipulative treatment techniques.

Conclusions: The Delphi consensus building process was used to create 6 new minimum competencies in OMM for osteopathic medical students for the specialty area of geriatrics. Using data from this consensus, medical schools, residencies, and fellowships can create standards and expectations for osteopathic physicians regarding the best care of geriatric patients.

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