Improving the clinical relevance of the continuing certification process was a key request. A message we received loud and clear was that emergency physicians remain committed to a rigorous program of continuing certification, as long as it helps them become better clinicians. What a remarkable statement! The bottom line for emergency physicians is improved patient care, not self-interest. ABEM is committed to a revised process that helps physicians find learning opportunities and involves assessment that is more clinically focused. This could even involve looking up material much like we do when working in the emergency department.
The bottom line for emergency physicians is improved patient care, not self-interest. ABEM is committed to a revised process that helps physicians find learning opportunities and involves assessment that is more clinically focused.
Many of the details of the ConCert alternative are not yet defined, but ABEM wanted to let physicians know the importance of what they told us and how we are responding. We envision that the alternative assessments will be shorter (possibly taking an hour or less to complete) and will target one or more content areas (such as trauma). Because relevance was a key issue for physicians, we will attempt to integrate more recent and timely topics into the alternative more quickly. Another consideration is the ability to use of some form of reference material(s). Finally, the feasibility of remote access to the assessment is being explored. ABEM will begin phasing in the alternative assessment in 2020. Over the next year, more and more details will be forthcoming. We also want to hear from ABEM-certified physicians about their ideas and thoughts on improvements.
Maintaining Credential Strength
ABEM is committed to maintaining the integrity and strength of ABEM certification as a credential. Emergency medicine faces many challenges, and those challenges are best addressed by skilled and talented physicians leveraging the strong credential of ABEM certification. ABEM supports using continuing certification as an indicator of quality and patient safety in our struggles surrounding scope of practice. ABEM strongly believes that continuing certification eliminates the need for medical merit badges and state-based CME requirements. We believe that the alternative assessment to the ConCert must ensure the continuing strength of ABEM certification so that emergency physicians can use the credential to their professional benefit and to optimize patient care. We think the ConCert alternative, as well as administering the ConCert more frequently, can address the issues of cost, convenience, and clinical relevance while maintaining the potency of ABEM certification.