American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Identifies Key to Measuring and Improving Quality of Health Care
Ongoing Collaboration Between Hospitals, Health Plans and Medical Community is Critical to Success
Philadelphia, PA, February 21, 2006 – Hospitals, health plans and the medical community must work together in order for the health care system to effectively measure and improve the quality of health care, according to an editorial in the February 22 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). As public interest in physician competence increases, the authors of Credentialing and Public Accountability: A Central Role for Board Certification—Christine K. Cassel, MD, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), and Eric S. Holmboe, MD, ABIM's Vice President for Evaluation Research and Director of Clinical Performance Services—examine the basic standards for specialists that currently exist and analyze the benefits to the public of ongoing monitoring of Certification.
Health plan credentialing and hospital privileging processes are important ways for the health care system to assist consumers in identifying physicians who have stayed current in the treatment and diagnosis of patients, and who maintain certain standards of professionalism. Ongoing monitoring of Certification will provide consumers with real-time information about whether a physician is keeping up with the standards set by his or her specialty. Not only does this have implications for the validity of the information to the public, but it also has potential for more impact on quality of care.
Drs. Cassel and Holmboe discuss how board Certification will be even more effective in its ability to identify competence and facilitate quality improvement and excellence in physicians. Because board Certification is one of the few tools that is widely applicable to most physician specialties, it can potentially provide assurance to hospitals and health plans that the physicians they identify meet specific criteria. Hospitals and health plans can be partners with the medical profession to improve quality by providing the clinical data that physicians need to maintain their board Certification, Drs. Cassel and Holmboe said, and this will help to improve the credibility and value of the credentialing process.
Editor's Note: Drs. Cassel and Holmboe are available for interviews to discuss in more detail how the public and the health care industry can both benefit from ongoing Certification.
You can read the full text of Credentialing and Public Accountability: a Central Role for Board Certification, on the Journal of the American Medical Association site.
For more than 75 years, certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has stood for the highest standard in internal medicine and its 19 subspecialties and has meant that internists have demonstrated – to their peers and to the public – that they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care. ABIM is not a membership society, but a non-profit, independent evaluation organization. Our accountability is both to the profession of medicine and to the public. ABIM is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties. For additional updates, follow ABIM on Facebook and Twitter.