Member Boards showed their support for the new Standards for Continuing Certification (Standards) following their approval by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Board of Directors during its October meeting, with many issuing statements explaining the new Standards, their implications for board certified physicians, and how changes made or those underway are already in alignment with the new Standards.
Some boards had already started making substantial changes to their continuing certification programs following the release of the recommendations made by the Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future Commission, which met through 2018 to provide strategic guidance to the ABMS Board of Directors and Member Boards. A few of them predate the recommendations. These programmatic changes reflect the Commission recommendations and the new Standards whose release represents the culmination of three years of development and consultation with myriad stakeholders from across the health care spectrum. As an example, the new Standards reinforce the transition to innovative assessment programs that support and direct physician learning. Among those developed by the boards in recent years include the:
- American Board of Anesthesiology’s (ABA) MOCA Minute
- American Board of Dermatology’s CertLink
- American Board of Family Medicine’s Family Medicine Certification Longitudinal Assessment and National Journal Club Self-Assessment
- American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology’s (ABOG) article-based assessments
- American Board of Ophthalmology’s (ABO) Quarterly Questions
- American Board of Pediatrics’ MOCA-Peds
- American Board of Radiology’s Online Longitudinal Assessment
The new Standards support greater opportunities for physicians to participate in quality and safety improvement activities designed to improve health and health care, including recognizing relevant activities in which physicians are already engaged. In addition, they stress the importance of
increasing health equity and reducing health care disparities. Some boards have begun including equity and disparities content in their continuing certification programs.
The new Standards emphasize the role of continuing certification as a collaborative effort among physicians, Member Boards, and specialty societies. Member boards have collaborated with specialty societies on numerous efforts to shape the future of certification, from innovative knowledge assessments to improvement activities. The ABA noted its ongoing collaboration with the American Society of Anesthesiologists. In its joint statement with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, ABOG cited their close collaboration for more than two decades in support of continuing certification and its commitment to advance a new Standard involving additional collaboration with specialty societies. ABO noted the support of collaborating specialty societies, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, for ABO’s initiatives to make its continuing certification program clinically relevant, evidence-based, flexible, and not burdensome to busy ophthalmologists.
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