Dr. Mary Nan S. Mallory tackles critical EM certification issues for ACEP Now
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 39 – No 10 – October 2020
The American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) has been transforming its approach to certification, a process that will culminate with the launch of MyEMCert next year. Mary Nan S. Mallory, MD, MBA, the new ABEM President, who was elected in August and serving for the 2020–2021 term, will be taking this multiyear process across the finish line.
Currently vice dean for clinical affairs and professor of emergency medicine for the department of emergency medicine at University of Louisville School of Medicine as well as an attending physician at the University of Louisville Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky, Dr. Mallory has been a member of the ABEM Board of Directors since July 2012 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2019.
Dr. Mallory recently responded in writing to ACEP Now’s questions about her goals as ABEM President and the future of certification.
What are the priorities for ABEM this year?
Our number-one priority is to help physicians transition to a more continuous and lower-risk certification process. We will be continuing our conversations with physicians about changes to our certification process, such as online ConCert, the implementation of MyEMCert, and a virtual oral exam. We’ve designed these transitions based on what we’ve heard from physicians.
Why did ABEM go to a five-year certification cycle?
A number of factors contributed to the decision to change the certification cycle. It became apparent that smoothing out the costs of certification, launching MyEMCert, and shortening the 10-year certification cycle were all likely to occur very soon. The best way to accommodate these changes was to introduce the five-year certification cycle as soon as possible. Spacing out anticipated changes, such as an annual fee, MyEMCert, and a shorter cycle, would have created even greater complexity, which would have been difficult for physicians to navigate. In addition, if ABEM certification is going to remain a strong credential, we’ve got to reduce the time during which a certified physician could be not completing any certification activities. The five-year certification cycle creates a process that encourages ongoing engagement to keeping up with key advances in the specialty.
By instituting the five-year cycle with the launch of MyEMCert in 2021 and by going to an annual fee, the number of times physicians have to adjust to change will be minimized. It also simplifies the continuing certification process and reduces the total number of requirements. The move from 10-year to five-year certification—while simultaneously moving to an annual fee structure—does not come with any increased activity or additional costs.
Another factor ABEM took into account was the American Board of Medical Specialties Vision Initiative report that recommends certifying boards create a continuing certification process. A five-year cycle promotes more regular engagement in the process.
Finally, changing to a five-year cycle now allows physicians with certifications expiring in 2021 to recertify using MyEMCert. That gives nearly 3,000 physicians an opportunity they would not have had without going to a five-year certification cycle.