The story of EPASS and Family Medicine at Stellenbosch University: part 2

The pilot

The pilot took place from February – April 2016 and was successful.  Registrars and supervisors valued EPASS to be very user-friendly. New options (see below) were appreciated and used, inconsistencies taken care of by the developers.

We’re proud that since May 2016 all Family Medicine registrars in the Western Cape are using the EPASS digital portfolio.

What is new and innovative in the EPASS-version that is developed for Family Medicine?

In my first blog (Nov. 2014) I presented 5 reasons why a portfolio has to be digital. In EPASS for Family Medicine additional reasons came up, the most important are:

  1. Treating a Learning Plan as an iterative process in which the registrar and supervisor work together via version control.
  2. Linking different forms together, e.g. the registrar can link a ‘Mini-CEX’ to ‘the registration of a specific procedure’.
  3. Providing authentic feedback by the supervisor by validating a feedback form with their password. 
  4. Generating an overview of all narrative feedback that a registrar received (by registrar and by supervisor).
  5. Generating different overviews of the status of the portfolio requirements, i.e. how many more observations, teaching events, learning plans do I need to realise before the end of the year.
  6. Calculating the scores in a feedback form and over a series of assessment forms.
  7. Creating different kind of management reports by the Head of Department: an overview of the feedback that supervisors provide (to use for quality purposes); an overview of the amount of feedback that is provided; an overview of the progress of the registrars.


The Stellenbosch Division of Family Medicine invested time and money in EPASS. They are happy with the new way of digital assessments so they want to make sure all FamMed registrars in South Africa benefit from the way they pioneered the system. This means that the other 7 divisions or departments of Family Medicine in South Africa pay only a fraction of the development costs. They don’t need to spend the same amount of time and money on the development of their EPASS: only a small initial fee for the setup is needed.  After EPASS was presented at the meeting of the Council of Family Medicine  half of May,  Walter Sisulu University, Department Family Medicine and Rural Health already decided to go forward, they plan to start in September 2017.

In August 2017 Intaka Learning is meeting with Stellenbosch University (Family Medicine) again to talk about new developments and options in EPASS and changes in the current version.
We will keep you informed.

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