What is the Value of ABMS Board Certification?

ABMS and its Member Boards represent the most respected and subscribed to specialty-based certification program in the United States. The value of board certification by an ABMS Member Board is that it provides an ongoing independent evaluation to assure that the specialty physician workforce:

  • Is skilled and clinically competent
  • Develops their specialty expertise throughout their careers
  • Meets the standards of practice established by their peers

The value is demonstrated by the ongoing public interest in seeking out board certified physicians and specialists and by the number of hospitals and other health care organizations that make board certification a key qualification for medical staff privileges.

Board certification is an active credential that supports physicians and specialists in providing better health care

Involves physicians and specialists to develop standards and assessments

The ABMS Member Board programs for certification and continuing certification are created by practicing physicians and specialists. More than 5,000 volunteer to help develop programs, standards, and assessment items.

Exceeds requirements for state licensure

Board certification exceeds baseline requirements for state medical license, assuring the public that physicians and specialists demonstrate the additional clinical skills and professional behavior to provide safe and high-quality specialty care.

Helps physicians and specialists stay current with medical advancements

Relevant, convenient, and evidence-based formative assessments merge new information learned with clinical judgement. Assessment results, along with other evaluation tools, can also indicate individuals’ clinical tendencies for performance in practice.

Emphasizes ongoing assessment to enhance learning

Educational research has highlighted the role of assessment to reinforce learning. Challenges to memory improve retention; and specific techniques like spaced repetition (repeating similar challenges over time) and interleaving (mixing different content areas over time) are more conducive to long-term learning and can accelerate the adoption of new clinical information.

Provides direction to identify knowledge gaps and refocus learning

The structured process of continuing certification guides individuals through a progression of benchmarking their knowledge and skills and identifying knowledge gaps. This inspires more focused learning and makes the time investment more efficient.

Fulfills public expectations for professionalism

Board certification enhances trust and transparency in the patient–provider relationship and is an important factor when choosing a specialist. The Certification Matters website provides a way for patients to recognize that a specialist has received critical training and continues to expand his or her knowledge and skills in their specialty.

Reduces risk of disciplinary actions

Physicians and specialists are expected to demonstrate high standards of professional conduct. By participating in continuing certification, they are considered less likely to be subject to disciplinary actions from a state medical board due to errors, accidents and/or legal liability than those who are not participating. ABMS Member Boards revoke certificates from those whose conduct puts patients at risk or undermines the trustworthiness of the credential.

Encourages participation in professional and organizational quality improvement activities

Board certified physicians and specialists bring the highest standards for specialty care into the practices and health systems where they work. Participation in improvement activities for continuing certification encourages them to refresh their knowledge and retool their skills . These activities drive medical advancements and reduce practice variation, resulting in

  • Better management of patients with chronic medical conditions
  • More effective use of resources
  • Improvements in performance measures
  • More efficient testing
  • Overall improved outcomes