Combating Medical Error

Combating Medical Error
- Continuing competence program prevents patient harm

The California Board of Podiatric Medicine (BPM) is the only doctor-licensing board in the U.S. to date to implement Continuing Competence requirements over and above continuing education hours. At each two-year renewal since 1999, BPM has required Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) to certify compliance with at least one peer-reviewed indicator that they have maintained practical, clinical competence since initial licensure:

http://www.bpm.ca.gov/forms_pubs/cmecert.pdf

BPM’s Continuing Competence and other licensing standards have contributed to a unique, long-term longitudinal decline in complaints:

http://www.bpm.ca.gov/forms_pubs/compdata.pdf

Given the history of medical self-regulation, state requirements for maintaining minimum medical skill (in return for extending the license to practice) remain controversial despite:

  • evidence that continuing education alone fails to maintain competence
  • high rates of medical error
  • increasing patient complaints

With the support of the podiatric medical profession, BPM's strategic plan remains focused on preventing patient harm as a priority no less important than reacting to it after the fact through enforcing doctor discipline when injury does occur.

For an overview of the hot debate, please see What They Say About Continuing Competence.

 

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