Hypothesis Assessment and remedial clinical education of practicing surgeons is feasible and possibly beneficial.
Design Retrospective series.
Setting Urban academic medical center.
Participants Licensed surgeons.
Interventions Structured assessment and remedial clinical education based on resident-education models.
Main Outcome Measures Assessment and clinical education results.
Results Forty-seven general, general/vascular, and colorectal surgeons were assessed by the University of California, San Diego, Physician Assessment and Clinical Education program in 2000 to 2010. Forty-six (98%) were male (mean [SD] age, 54  years; range, 34-80 years). Thirty-three (70%) came from state medical board actions: 25 from California's disciplinary division, 2 from California's licensing division, 3 from other state boards, and 3 self-referred during other state board actions. Fourteen (30%) came from health care organizations: 8 from California hospitals, 3 from hospitals in other states, 2 self-referred during hospital proceedings, and 1 self-referred during a medical group investigation. Twenty-three (49%) underwent a 2-day assessment only, including a 1-hour mock oral board examination: 8 “passed” with no recommendations; 6, with minor recommendations; 6 had major recommendations; and 3 “failed.” Twenty-four surgeons (51%) also completed 26 five-day clinical education programs, with 20 “passes,” 1 minor recommendation, 3 major recommendations, and 2 “fails.”
Conclusion A program of assessment and remedial clinical education of surgeons designed to meet the needs of one medical board is being used by nongovernmental organizations as well, and it seems to meet the needs of some individual surgeons. This type of program may play a role in the profession's self-regulation.