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The hospital educational environment and performance of residents in the General Medicine In-Training Examination: a multicenter study in Japan



It is believed that the type of educational environment in teaching hospitals may affect the performance of medical knowledge base among residents, but this has not yet been proven.


We aimed to investigate the association between the hospital educational environment and the performance of the medical knowledge base among resident physicians in Japanese teaching hospitals.


To assess the knowledge base of medicine, we conducted the General Medicine InTraining Examination (GM-ITE) for second-year residents in the last month of their residency. The items of the exam were developed based on the outcomes designated by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. The educational environment was evaluated using the Postgraduate Hospital Educational Environment Measure (PHEEM) score, which was assessed by a mailed survey 2 years prior to the exam. A mixed-effects linear regression model was employed for the analysis of variables associated with a higher score.


Twenty-one teaching hospitals participated in the study and a total of 206 residents (67 women) participated and completed the exam. There were no residents who declined to participate in the exam. The mean GM-ITE score was 58 (standard deviation 8.4). The mixed-effects linear regression analysis showed that a higher PHEEM score was associated with a higher GM-ITE score (P = 0.02). Having a department of general medicine, and hospital location in a provincial community (versus an urban setting), were also shown to have a significant relationship with the higher score (P = 0.03, and P = 0.02, respectively).


We found that the performance of the medical knowledge base of resident physicians was significantly associated with the educational environment of their hospitals. Improvement of the educational environment in teaching hospitals might be crucial for enhancing the performance of resident physicians in Japan.

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