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  • Women Are More Likely to Get Breast Cancer Screenings They Need When They See Internists Who Maintain Board Certification

Women Are More Likely to Get Breast Cancer Screenings They Need When They See Internists Who Maintain Board Certification


Researchers found an association with ABIM's Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program requirements and mammography rates.

Philadelphia, PA, January 16, 2018 – Patients expect their doctors to know the latest medical guidelines, like when they need a mammogram. New research indicates that physicians who participate in MOC, a lifelong learning and assessment program, screen women appropriately for breast cancer, potentially saving lives every year.

Researchers from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) conducted a novel study focused on female Medicare beneficiaries 65 and older – a population with low screening rates. They found:

  • Patients who saw internists certified after the MOC program was in place were 2.8 percent more likely to have annual breast cancer screenings and 1.7 percent more likely to have biennial screenings than similar internists not subject to the program requirements.
  • After the MOC program began, associations with the MOC program requirements and mammography screening tripled among woman who had not been screened at the two-year baseline period and therefore may have benefited the most from increased screening. (They were 8.5 percent more likely to get annual screenings and 6.4 percent more likely to get biennial screenings.)

“One of the most interesting findings was that several patients who had not been screened for breast cancer for a while did undergo a mammogram after the MOC program was in place,” said lead author Bradley M. Gray, PhD, ABIM Senior Health Services Researcher. “This could indicate that ongoing certification gives doctors an opportunity to learn or review guidelines and update the care they provide.”

Dr. Gray and colleagues noted that ABIM certifies 45 percent of all adult primary care physicians, so the program has the potential to impact cancer screenings for a large population of women. Authors also noted that other factors could influence physician adherence to mammography guidelines, so further research is needed to understand how MOC might impact the quality of care that patients receive.

Additional Information

View the research article in Women's Health Issues. (Subscription may be required to access the full article.)

Read more research from ABIM and other organizations about board certification, MOC and physician assessment.

Learn more about the ABIM MOC program, which includes independent assessment options and continuous learning activities that doctors can complete to stay current with medical knowledge.

For media inquiries, contact Erin Frantz at press@abim.org.

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 FacebookTwitter and Instagram. ABIM is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties.