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Assessment 2020 Task Force Findings to Focus Discussion of Changes to ABIM Certification and Maintenance of Certification

Philadelphia, PA, September 16, 2015 – The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) today released a report from the Assessment 2020 Task Force that envisions a variety of potential directions for the future of assessments in ABIM's Certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) programs.

The Assessment 2020 Task Force was convened in 2013 to develop a vision for the future of assessment in internal medicine and associated subspecialties. The independent Task Force included representatives from a diverse group of stakeholders, including ABIM leadership, experts in assessment, education, health care and consumer advocacy.

The report, A Vision for Certification in Internal Medicine in 2020, is intended to inform ongoing redesign of ABIM's Certification and MOC programs, guided by the needs of patients and society while also increasing the value to and decreasing the burden on physicians.

“Feedback collected by the Assessment 2020 Task Force is very consistent with feedback ABIM is hearing from the community regarding the MOC program,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, President and CEO of ABIM. “These recommendations are meant to be a catalyst for further discussion and can ultimately lead to an improved MOC program for diplomates.”

ABIM has started actively exploring the implementation of the recommendations through a subcommittee that consists of members of both the ABIM Council and Board of Directors, led by ABIM Council member Naomi O'Grady, MD. Key recommendations from the report include:

  • Change the MOC exam.
  • The Task Force recommends replacing the 10-year MOC exam with more meaningful, less burdensome assessments.
  • Focus assessments on cognitive and technical skills.
  • Assessment of cognitive skills assures the public that physicians are staying current with the clinical knowledge relevant to patient care. Assessment of technical skills ensures that physicians can apply that knowledge to adequately perform the technical procedures appropriate to the discipline.
  • Recognize specialization.
  • The Task Force recommends exploring the need for certification in specialized areas, without the requirement to maintain underlying certificates, while being transparent about specialization to the public.

“The Assessment 2020 Task Force members provided useful insights and recommendations that will be instrumental as we reshape certification to meet physicians' and society's changing needs,” said Clarence H. Braddock III, MD, Chair of the ABIM Board of Directors. “We now need to hear constructive feedback from the internal medicine community on these recommendations, begin to determine their feasibility and develop implementation plans where needed.”

ABIM has made a number of changes to its Certification and MOC programs in partnership with the internal medicine community in recent months, including suspending quality improvement and patient safety requirements in the program until more meaningful requirements are defined, no longer requiring underlying certifications for MOC, offering a one-year grace period for physicians who fail the MOC examination in their discipline, a reduction of the first-time examination retake fee in MOC and a new partnership with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to accept more forms of continuing medical education (CME) for MOC credit.

In addition, the blueprint for the internal medicine exam was recently updated with physician input, and the score reports diplomates receive with their examination results now provide more specific feedback on performance. The Task Force recommendations will inform ABIM’s ongoing collaboration with the internal medicine community to ensure that ABIM Certification and MOC are relevant and meaningful to physicians and patients.

Read the full report.

ABIM Board Certified Doctors Make a Difference
Internists and subspecialists who earn and maintain board certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) differentiate themselves every day through their specialized knowledge and commitment to continual learning in service of their patients. Established as an independent nonprofit more than 80 years ago, ABIM continues to be driven by doctors who want to achieve higher standards for better care in a rapidly changing world. Visit ABIM's blog to learn more and follow ABIM on Facebook and Twitter. ABIM is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties.