Board certified physicians continue their learning throughout their careers, and the 24 ABMS Member Boards regularly assess physicians’ knowledge in their area of specialization. As part of its commitment to continuous improvement, ABMS initiated Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future, a 2018 initiative that brought together multiple partners to envision a system of continuing board certification that is meaningful, relevant, and of value to physicians. At the same time, the process would need to remain responsive to the patients, hospitals, and others who expect that physician specialists are maintaining their knowledge and skills to provide quality specialty care.
An independent Commission was formed, representing a broad cross-section of physicians from a wide variety of specialties and practice settings, and a diverse group of stakeholder communities that included national specialty and state medical societies, hospitals and health systems, health care organizations, ABMS Member Boards, and the general public. The Commission members assessed the status of continuing board certification and, in its final report[PDF], made recommendations to help enable the current process to become a system that demonstrates the profession’s commitment to professional self-regulation, offers a consistent and clear understanding of what continuing certification means, and establishes a program that meets the highest standard of quality patient care.
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The Plan for Achieving the Vision for Continuing Certification
ABMS and its Member Boards are committed to implementing the Commission’s recommendations, and to maintaining the inclusive nature of the Commission by working with external stakeholders as well as those within the ABMS community. These and future implementation efforts will help the boards to evolve continuing certification into a meaningful and relevant program that brings both value to a physician’s practice and meets the highest standard of quality patient care.
During its February 2019 meeting, the ABMS Board of Directors reviewed the Commission’s final report in detail to determine how best to address the recommendations outlined. The Board agreed to the following first steps toward implementing the Commission’s findings:
- Creation of an Oversight Committee, which will seek guidance from the ABMS Stakeholder Council and various other stakeholders in the continuing certification process, to help direct the work of the following five task forces as part of the Achieving the Vision Recommendation and Action Plan[PDF]:
- Advancing Practice Task Force
- Information and Data Sharing Task Force
- Professionalism Task Force
- Remediation Task Force
- Standards Task Force*
- Agreement of all 24 ABMS Member Boards to commit to longitudinal or other formative assessment strategies, and to offer alternatives to the highly secure, point-in-time examinations of knowledge.
- Commitment by ABMS to develop new, integrated standards for continuing certification programs by 2020. The standards will address the Commission recommendations for flexibility in knowledge assessment and advancing practice, feedback to diplomates, and consistency.
*The Standards Task Force is composed of members of the ABMS Board of Directors and the ABMS Committee on Continuing Certification. The other four task forces are composed of representatives from various external stakeholders in the continuing certification process as well as from ABMS Member Boards. The task forces were named in July 2019.
The Oversight Committee of the Continuing Board Certification: Achieving the Vision initiative leads the implementation of the recommendations that were outlined in the final report of the Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future Commission.
The committee members were selected based on their expertise as well as their knowledge and understanding of the Commission’s report, and their leadership positions in the ABMS boards community.
The members of the Oversight Committee are:
- Larry A. Green, MD, Chair-Elect, ABMS Board of Directors
- Richard E. Hawkins, MD, ABMS President and Chief Executive Officer
- Carolyn L. Kinney, MD, Executive Director, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- Michael R. Nelson, MD, PhD, President, American Board of Allergy and Immunology, Vision Commission Member
- George D. Wendel Jr., MD, Executive Director of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vision Commission Member
Recent News and Developments Regarding Continuing Certification
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