Utilization of a training portfolio in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery: the example of the French platform-EPIFORM

Alex Fourdrain, Charles-Henri David, Lucile Gust, Gilbert Massard


Thoracic and cardiovascular surgery requires learning both theoretical knowledge and technical skills. In this surgical field, several disparities exist between the different training programs around the world. This report describes the implementation of a portfolio in the teaching and assessment of French trainees in Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery, following an electronic logbook model, aiming to improve the training program. The French surgical course is a twelve semesters’ curriculum divided in 3 parts, each part containing knowledge, technical skills and behaviors objectives to be validated, defined by the French College of Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery. The competencies are marked in the logbook, following a declarative model where the surgical trainee fills every surgical procedure attended (all or part) if he/she has observed, partially or fully performed, or supervised another trainee. All the surgical procedures are linked to theoretical e-learning lessons and each e-learning lesson includes a self-evaluation. This constitutes a competency-based assessment model with milestones both for surgeon trainees and their mentors. This portfolio also contains complementary tools such as an automated publication point calculation, a formatted curriculum vitae generator, and several contact tools between trainees. Implementation of a dedicated portfolio following an electronic logbook model appears to be a relevant pedagogic tool and survey element in the thoracic and cardiovascular surgery training program. Its use may lead to potential educational benefits for the trainee, reliable competency assessment for the supervising surgeon and for scientific society or national college.