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Open Access Research article

Evidence based post graduate training. A systematic review of reviews based on the WFME quality framework

Annelies Damen1*, Roy Remmen1, Johan Wens1 and Dominique Paulus2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine, Centre for General Practice, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Wilrijk, Belgium

2 Federaal Kenniscentrum voor de Gezondheidszorg - Centre fédéral d'expertise des soins de santé - Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre, Kruidtuinlaan 55, 1000 Brussel, Belgium

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BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:80  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-80

Published: 6 October 2011



A framework for high quality in post graduate training has been defined by the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME). The objective of this paper is to perform a systematic review of reviews to find current evidence regarding aspects of quality of post graduate training and to organise the results following the 9 areas of the WFME framework.


The systematic literature review was conducted in 2009 in Medline Ovid, EMBASE, ERIC and RDRB databases from 1995 onward. The reviews were selected by two independent researchers and a quality appraisal was based on the SIGN tool.


31 reviews met inclusion criteria. The majority of the reviews provided information about the training process (WFME area 2), the assessment of trainees (WFME area 3) and the trainees (WFME area 4). One review covered the area 8 'governance and administration'. No review was found in relation to the mission and outcomes, the evaluation of the training process and the continuous renewal (respectively areas 1, 7 and 9 of the WFME framework).


The majority of the reviews provided information about the training process, the assessment of trainees and the trainees. Indicators used for quality assessment purposes of post graduate training should be based on this evidence but further research is needed for some areas in particular to assess the quality of the training process.