The American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program is a vehicle for continuous professional development. The MOC assures the public that board-certified physicians are engaged in the arduous program of continuous professional development. The program also reflects a national standard for the specialty. MOC not only improves patient care, but studies suggest that being board certified in emergency medicine is associated with fewer malpractice suits.
Explore This IssueACEP14 Daily News Tuesday: Vol 33 - No10B - October 2014
Terry Kowalenko, MD, of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in Michigan, an ABEM board member, spoke about the certification process as part of the educational program at ACEP14. He explained that the MOC includes four parts:
I) Professional standing;
II) Lifelong learning and self-assessment (LLSA);
III) Cognitive expertise examination; and
IV) Assessment of practice performance (APP).
Part I is simply proof that every state medical license is current, active, and valid through the time of certification. Part II includes online, annual, self-assessment tests based on annual reading lists.
Part III is assessed by performance on the ConCertTM examination. The exam is clinically focused and measures medical knowledge, including fact recall as well as knowledge essential for translating symptoms into diagnoses. Dr. Kowalenko explained, in general, that emergency physicians continue to do well on the examination over time. This is likely to be due to the fact that emergency physicians remain generalists, as well as the nature of the exam. It is designed to be relevant for the practicing emergency physician. When questioned about the relevancy of the exam, approximately three quarters of physicians reported that almost all or most questions on the exam were relevant.
Part IV of the certification process is the assessment of practice performance (APP). APP is largely self-directed by the physician and, according to Dr. Kowalenko, probably the easiest part of certification to accomplish. The emergency physician chooses the APP activity.
“You get to determine what you do,” Dr. Kowelanko explained. “What is important for your clinical practice.”
Dr. Kowalenko ended with advice for meeting the ABEM MOC requirements. He emphasized that physicians should not fall behind in the five-year period because failure to meet any MOC requirement can lead to decertification. He suggested that physicians take the LLSA annually, if possible. When taking LLSA, physicians should review and complete attestations for Part IV.
He also suggested that physicians take the ConCertTM exam at some point in the second five years of the cycle. He encouraged all emergency physicians to visit the ABEM website to see the status of their certification. Physicians can bring any questions to the ABEM booth on the exhibit floor of ACEP 2014.