American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Member Boards are creating continuing certification activities focused on the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) that recognize the efforts of board certified specialists in combating this novel coronavirus on the front lines. This flexibility demonstrates the agility of the continuing certification programs to respond to emerging public health issues. In addition, the boards are collaborating with their respective specialty societies to offer heightened education to physicians and residents alike. The following examples offer a glimpse into the boards’ recent actions.
The American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) introduced a COVID-19 response project to satisfy the Improvement in Medical Practice (IMP) requirement for Maintenance of Certification (MOC). These projects are intended to help board certified ophthalmologists identify gaps in care and implement best practices in order to improve patient outcomes. To date, more than 200 ophthalmologists have submitted applications for projects, most of which describe strategies for reducing the risk of infectious spread. After 30 or more days, participants will report what worked, what didn’t, and how they made adjustments to achieve their goal. ABO is sharing the COVID-19 prevention project templates as well as final project reports so that all ophthalmologists can learn from one another.
In response to numerous requests from ophthalmologists, ABO released Quarterly Questions—the knowledge assessment component of the board’s MOC program—ahead of schedule. With many practices shuttered, some ophthalmologists chose to devote a portion of their unanticipated free time to this activity. Thanks to dozens of dedicated ABO volunteer subject-matter experts assisted by ABO staff, all content for 2020, including new material related to COVID-19, was posted online in March and April. ABO also added COVID-19 articles as part of its Self-Assessment activities and approved new continuing medical education activities related to the novel coronavirus.
The American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) introduced COVID-19-related questions in MOCA Minute®, an interactive learning tool that replaced the board’s MOCA Exam, to quickly share new knowledge about the coronavirus as well as to improve physician and patient safety. Given the escalating nature of COVID-19 and its impact on clinical practice, these questions were posed to all participating board certified anesthesiologists regardless of their practice profile. To date, ABA has added 12 COVID-19-related questions and will continue to add more in the future.
The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) has awarded credit to all pediatricians maintaining certification to recognize their commitment to lifelong learning and improvement during the COVID-19 pandemic. No documentation of activities is necessary. In addition, ABP is increasing the flexibility of the MOCA-Peds platform (the ABP’s online assessment). ABP already drops the four lowest-scored quarters during a five-year cycle before calculating the final scores. For pediatricians currently participating in MOCA-Peds, ABP also will discard results of any two quarters in 2020 if results negatively impact a pediatrician’s overall performance.
Member Boards are partnering with specialty societies to offer top-quality online educational opportunities for both physicians and trainees. For example, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology is collaborating with the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) to provide board certified psychiatrists and neurologists complimentary access to AAN 2019 meeting programming, including the AAN Annual Meeting on Demand 2019 program and the NeuroSAE 2019 Annual Meeting Edition.
The American Board of Preventive Medicine is promoting free online courses and webinars about COVID-19 hosted by specialty/subspecialty societies to support preventive medicine physicians during the pandemic. Among the societies involved are the American Medical Informatics Association, American Society of Addiction Medicine, and American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Recognizing that many medical genetics and genomics residents and fellows are unable to engage in planned educational activities necessary to meet training program requirements, the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics and American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics collaborated to provide trainees complimentary access to online medical genetics education courses during the pandemic.
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