New paths in post-graduate medical training in general practice - 8 years of experience with the pilot project Verbundweiterbildungplus Baden-Württemberg.GMS J Med Educ. 2017; 34(5):Doc62.GJ
Background: In face of the looming shortage of general practitioners, primary healthcare providers and post-graduate training in general practice are increasingly becoming part of the political agenda in Germany. In 2009 the program "Verbundweiterbildung plus Baden-Württemberg" (VWB plus BW) was developed by the Competence Center for General Practice in Baden-Wuerttemberg to ensure primary healthcare in the future by enhancing the attractiveness of general medicine. This paper describes the experiences that have been gathered in developing a post-graduate training-program for physicians undergoing specialist training in general practice. Project description: The Competence Center for General Practice in Baden-Wuerttemberg supports the organization of regional networks dedicated to post-graduate medical education. First core element of the VWB plus BW program is a special seminar series for physicians pursuing post-graduate training. This seminar program is aligned with the German competency-based curriculum in general medicine and is meant to promote medical expertise and other related competencies, such as business and medical practice management and communication skills. Mentoring and advising the physicians regarding professional and personal planning form the second core element. The third core element is seen in the train-the-trainer seminars that address the competencies of the trainers. In order to focus the program's content closely on the needs of the target groups, scientifically based evaluations and research are carried out. Results: Since starting in 2009, 685 physicians have entered the program and 141 have passed the examination to become medical specialists (as of December 2016). In total, 31 networks, 60 hospitals and 211 general practices have participated. The seminar sessions have been rated on average with 1.43 on a six-point Likert scale by the physician trainees (1=extremely satisfied, 6=extremely dissatisfied). Alongside the medical training, these physicians viewed the exchange of information and experiences with other physicians as very positive and important. In 185 seminars lasting 90 minutes each, the seminar program has presently covered 250 out of 320 units in the competency-based curriculum for general medicine. A total of 281 trainers have been trained in 13 train-the-trainer courses and have rated this course on average with 1.36 on a six-point Likert scale. Above all, the trainers emphasized the exchange of information and experiences with other trainers as very positive. In 2013 the DEGAM concept for its Verbundweiterbildungplus program was developed based on that of the VWB plus BW. Since 2008 over 40 articles on the topic of post-graduate medical education have been published. Conclusion: The steadily increasing number of participants over the years demonstrates that the VWB plus BW is relevant for recent medical graduates and contributes to the attractiveness of general practice. The consistently excellent evaluations of the training program and the train-the-trainer course affirm the focus on the needs of the target groups. The post-graduate VWB plus BW program advances structured, competency-based and quality-oriented specialist training and fosters professional sharing between physicians - something that could also be relevant for other fields. The increasing numbers of participating physicians and specialists in general practice in Baden-Württemberg lead to the conclusion that the VWB plus BW program positively influences the number of general practitioners.