CanMEDS 2025 Emerging Concepts

The role for Emerging Concepts in CanMEDS 2025

An important first step in the CanMEDS 2025 process involves identifying important concepts related to the role of a physician that have emerged or evolved since the development of the CanMEDS 2015 framework. These emerging concepts will be shared with the CanMEDS 2025 Expert Working Groups, who will consider how best to account for the concepts in their updates to the CanMEDS framework. The identification of emerging concepts comprised of two major workstreams, including a literature review and an environmental scan.

Definition of an Emerging Concept

For this project, an emerging concept is defined as: ideas discussed in the recent literature and/or identified by key experts that are related to the role and competencies of physicians and are either (a) not currently represented in the 2015 CanMEDS iteration or (b) have significantly evolved since the 2015 CanMEDS iteration and so require more elaborate consideration. 

11 Emerging Concepts

Through the two workstreams, 11 major concepts were identified: 

  • Adaptive Expertise, 
  • Anti-racism, 
  • Clinical Reasoning, 
  • Clinical Learning Environment, 
  • Complex Adaptive Systems, 
  • Data-Informed Medicine, 
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice,
  • Indigenous Health,
  • Physician Humanism, 
  • Planetary Health, and
  • Virtual Care and Telemedicine. 

Literature Review

An extensive literature review was conducted with the expertise of more than 50 physicians, researchers, and clinicians. Over 12 months, the group conducted a qualitative knowledge synthesis, which involved a literature scan, title and abstract review, and thematic analysis to identify emerging concepts. The result was the identification of 10 emerging themes.  

Writing groups were recruited to elaborate on each of the 10 identified key themes and how they could be further incorporated into CanMEDS 2025, with articles for each being published in the Canadian Medical Education Journal (CMEJ), with a special CanMEDS issue expected in early 2023. 

Of the10 underrepresented concepts identified in the literature scan, six will be explored further through a theme expert working group

  • Anti-racism,
  • Data Informed Medicine,
  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice. 
  • Physician Humanism,
  • Planetary Health, and
  • Virtual Care and Telemedicine.

Environmental Scan

The Environmental Scan was composed of a review of grey literature, an expert survey, and an institutional document review. 

There was significant alignment between the themes identified in the environmental scan and the literature scan, with one important exception. Indigenous Health was a more prominent and distinct theme in the environmental scan.

Currently, the CanMEDS 2025 Steering Committee is exploring structures and processes to ensure that Indigenous Health is addressed in CanMEDS 2025.  The following resources from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and College of Family Physicians of Canada will be important references to the work going forward.

How to access the papers

An outline of the 10 emerging themes identified in the literature review was published in the Canadian Medical Education Journal and can be accessed here:

A special CanMEDS issue of CMEJ is scheduled for publication in early 2023 to showcase all articles related to the emerging themes and other CanMEDS literature.