Background: Endocrinology is a relatively young subspecialty of internal medicine. No consensus on international standards for training has been established, and hence the variability between training programs and endocrinologist qualifications may be great.
Methods: A standardized questionnaire was constructed to explore individual national standards for endocrinology training, evaluating the responding programs for physician entry criteria for each program, medical content, duration of the programs, procedural competency, and qualification and re-qualification requirements. Representatives from member societies of the ISE were solicited to provide specific characteristics of their respective national training programs via a questionnaire on SurveyMonkey.
Results: Sixteen of 54 (30%) ISE member countries responded regarding training program characteristics. Spanish-speaking (SS) countries were more likely to have an entrance exam compared with non-SS countries (80 vs 27%, χ2=3.88, P=0.049). On average 6285% of programs included all general endocrinology knowledge content with the exception of endocrine surgery (15%) and genetics (31%). Genetics was included more frequently in SS vs non-SS countries (60 vs 13%, χ2=3.26, P=0.071) and less frequently in European Union (EU) vs non-EU countries (17 vs 43%, χ2=3.61, P=0.057). Pediatric endocrinology was included more frequently in SS vs non-SS countries (100 vs 43%, χ2=4.29, P=0.038). Endocrinology research was included less frequently in EU vs non-EU countries (50 vs 86%, χ2=3.26, P=0.071). Thyroid procedures were taught only 3338% of the time across programs while diabetes-related procedures and DEXA were required by 6269% of the programs, and both were included more frequently in the SS vs non-SS countries (χ2=8.70, P=0.003, χ2=5.08, P=0.024, respectively). While 100% of countries required certification to practice endocrinology, only 38% had a certifying examination, with significantly lower administration in EU vs non-EU (17 vs 57%, χ2=5.08, P=0.024).
Conclusion: The questionnaire identifies differences in endocrinology training, which can be addressed by ISE member countries in the hope of an overall improvement in the quality of training and international harmonization of the discipline of endocrinology.
20 May 2017 - 23 May 2017