Medical Science Educator

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 743–748 | Cite as

Developing a Competency Framework for Medical Education in China: a Qualitative Study

  • Jonathan Lio
  • Yanqing Ye
  • Shalini Reddy
  • Hongmei Dong
  • Renslow Sherer
Original Research



Medical education leaders across the world have been calling for a competency-driven approach to education. Defining the competencies required of a physician ready for practice is a crucial step to optimize medical training programs, but there is no clear overarching framework of competencies to guide the training and assessment of resident physicians in China. We studied a multidisciplinary group of healthcare and education professionals in order to understand their conceptualization of the competencies essential to a competent physician in China.


A 6-item questionnaire was distributed electronically to 265 physicians, nurses, medical school administrators, and public health school faculty affiliated with Wuhan University in Hubei, China. Respondents were asked for basic demographic data and to “describe the core abilities of an excellent physician.” Open-ended responses were qualitatively analyzed.


Response rate was 29 %; the majority of responses (62 %) were from physicians. Five major themes arose from the data: (1) communication and collaboration (30.0 %); (2) morality, ethics, and professionalism (25.7 %); (3) patient care (24.6 %); (4) scholarship (16.8 %); and (5) quality assurance systems (3.0 %).


This paper represents a step toward creating a culturally acceptable physician competency framework for the training and assessment of China’s future physicians. Future direction includes surveying a larger and representative population for thematic saturation and evaluating the implementation of such a competency framework.


China Competency Medical education Residency training 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This study was approved as study 09-126-B by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Chicago and by the Ethics Committee of Wuhan University.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Funding Sources



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Copyright information

© International Association of Medical Science Educators 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineZhongnan Hospital of Wuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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