Use our Verify a Physician's Certification tool to find out.


Go to the American Board of Medical Specialties website to find out more about how to be a smart patient and the importance of Certification.


Visit Choosing Wisely, which aims to help patients engage their health care provider in conversations and empower them to ask questions about what tests and procedures are right for them.

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How Certification Affects Patients / Consumers

Selecting an internist may be one of the most important decisions you'll make in your lifetime. How do you know if your doctor is qualified to provide the best care possible? Find out if your physicians are ABIM Board Certified and are maintaining their certification.

What is Board Certification?

Board certification is a meaningful indicator that a doctor has the knowledge, experience and skills necessary to provide high-quality patient care. ABIM certification is recognized throughout the world as signifying excellence in the practice of Internal Medicine and its subspecialties.

ABIM Board Certified internists and subspecialists have demonstrated the ability and the commitment to lifelong learning, which is necessary to provide the high quality care that every patient deserves. ABIM certifies approximately one out of every four physicians in the United States.*

ABIM Certification requirements include:

  • Completion of the required pre-doctoral medical education
  • Completion of required training in an accredited residency or fellowship program
  • Assessment and documentation of individual performance from the residency or fellowship training director or from the chief of service in the hospital where the specialist practices
  • An unrestricted license to practice medicine
  • Passing a secure, computer-based certification examination

Is Your Doctor Maintaining Board Certification?

In health care, practice does not necessarily make perfect. Although it makes sense that doctors with more experience would have accumulated more knowledge and skill, research findings suggest that physician performance declines over time.

Medicine changes rapidly, and it has become essential for doctors to stay current in the diagnosis and treatment of patients in order to provide high-quality care. By participating in ABIM's Maintenance of Certification program, doctors demonstrate their commitment to the highest standards of patient care.

Ask your physicians if they are participating in Maintenance of Certification – and if the answer is no, you may want to encourage them to do so.


* 2012 ABMS Certificate Statistics (pdf)

Choudhry NK, Fletcher RH, Soumerai SB. Systematic review: The relationship between clinical experience and quality of health care. Ann Intern Med. 2005; 142(4): 260-73.

Davis DA, Mazimanian PE, Fordis M, Van Harrison R, Thorpe KE, Perrier L. Accuracy of physician self-assessment compared with observed measures of competence: A systematic review. JAMA. 2006; 296(9): 1094-102.