Spreading the Word about Improvements in MOC

On September 6, 2018

By: Marshall “Buzz” Land, Jr., MD, R.J. McKay, Jr., MD on September 6, 2018

R.J. McKay, Jr., MD Green & Gold Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and ABP Advisor for Diplomate Outreach and Strategic Planning

As part of its effort to engage pediatricians in its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) began reaching out to all American Academy of Pediatrics’ state chapters in 2016. The goals of this effort are to inform pediatricians of recent changes in the Board’s MOC processes, and even more, to listen to diplomates’ frustrations and their ideas on how to continue improving the process.

Although I have proudly served ABP in various roles for more than 20 years, I visit these chapters as a pediatrician who was in private practice for 40 years. Like many diplomates, my career has been one “in the trenches.” I have tried to represent this voice in all my Board activities.

My visits are adapted to meet the needs of the particular chapter: annual meetings, continuing medical education (CME) conferences, or specifically-organized dinners. Some chapters have even asked me to visit pediatricians’ offices, clinics, and hospitals so that diplomates can show the work they are doing, including projects that earn MOC credit.

I provide a brief overview of why we have an MOC process, then devote most of the time to improvements in ABP’s MOC program. I highlight:

  • The Maintenance of Certification Assessment for Pediatrics (MOCA-Peds), an online non-proctored assessment platform designed for learning as well as assessment. MOCA-Peds will be available as an alternative to a secure exam at a testing center beginning in 2019.
  • MOC Part 2 credit for qualifying CME activities.
  • MOC Part 4 credit for work diplomates are already doing in the workplace.
  • The option to pay fees annually or all at once with enrollment every five years.

The meetings also are a great opportunity to listen to diplomates and find out ways ABP can improve its programs and help diplomates be better prepared to help children. In addition to the time in the meeting allotted for questions, attendees are invited to submit questions on cards for me to answer through the chapter’s newsletter. I answer every question that is submitted.

I find that diplomates are overwhelmingly pleased with the changes ABP has made. Many positive comments during, and after, the visits voice appreciation for the effort of the visit, the opportunity to be heard, and the chance to be part of improving the process. Although many diplomates still express worry and frustration, many express pride in being certified, and relate stories of improvement in practice. All criticisms and ideas are relayed to ABP and its MOC Committee for serious consideration. Follow-up is always made with the chapters and ongoing dialogue encouraged.

We have learned many lessons from this process, including:

  • Getting accurate information out/seen/understood is really important; therefore multimodal communication continues to be critical.
  • Engagement—both ways—is essential.
  • It is key that diplomates know they are part of this process. It’s “we;” both sides are important.
  • Some physicians are worn out. The ABP needs to show ways that MOC can help to overcome burnout.

The ABP feels strongly about its mission and the importance of obtaining and maintaining certification. What I see is that diplomates are finding the ABP’s MOC program more and more relevant and meaningful, and they expect continuing improvement. The ABP will keep working with its diplomates to achieve that goal—and to improve the health of children.

© 2018, American Board of Medical Specialties. All rights reserved.

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