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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 he or she is board certified and 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. Although board certification is voluntary, ABIM Board Certification is recognized throughout the world as signifying excellence in the practice of internal medicine and its subspecialties.

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. Approximately one out of four practicing physicians nationwide is certified by ABIM.*

ABIM Board 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; and
  • 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 can demonstrate their commitment to the highest standards of care.

ABIM provides a credential of value and substance, fostering continual learning that leads to a confidence that your physician is staying current in knowledge and practicing today's medicine.

Evidence shows that physicians who earn certification from ABIM and maintain their certification provide better patient care. View our infographic about how Board Certified Internists are Positively Different.

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