Analysis of accreditation standards for undergraduate medical studies in Serbia through the lens of the National Health Workforce Accounts
BackgroundUnderstanding the importance of educational accreditation standards for health and health workforce policymaking is needed more than ever given the growing circulation of physicians, cross-border care and population needs. The World Health Organization National Health Workforce Accounts (WHO/NHWA) for education and training could support the achievement of health care quality through health workforce strategies. ObjectiveTo assess the effect of the accreditation standards on the
... ndards on the quality of undergraduate medical studies and to assess their potential to support quality improvement in health workforce education and health policy planning.MethodsStudy design is based on a multimodal approach revealing the qualitative (review of official documents, two internal reports on accreditation, literature) and quantitative data (descriptive analysis, 2010-2018) as resources for evaluation of the national accreditation standards, and mapping with WHO/NHWA indicators on education and training for medical undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Medicine University of Belgrade, Serbia (FMUB).ResultsThe mechanism of compulsory accreditation implies standards for the quality of education (except for inter-professional education). The standards partially cover social determinants and social accountability. Students participate optionally in the adoption of regulations. Like health managers who are also providers of student training during their studies, students participate in FMUB accreditation surveys. Based on the reports from two accreditation cycles, the satisfaction of graduates and employers with the quality of undergraduate medical studies has been partially improved. The downward trend in freshman enrollment has been observed for last nine years. The average duration of a six-year undergraduate study of medicine was extended to 7.2 ± 0.4 years.Conclusion Social accountability and social determinants must be taken as priority standards in the future revisions of accreditation mechanism in order to improve communication, organizational skills and independent work of medical students. Health workforce organizations, civil society and the community should participate in regulatory bodies for accreditation to establish the basis for socially accountable and inter-professional education. If applied at the institutional, local and national levels, the WHO/NHWA indicator system can support the alignment of higher education standards and plans with the standards and strategy/plan of the health care and health workforce.