Vision for the Future of Continuing Board Certification

Journal of the American Medical Association (05/17/19) Colenda, Christopher C.; Scanlon, William J.; Hawkins, Richard E.

In a commentary, West Virginia University Health System's Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., William Scanlon, Ph.D., with the U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the American Board of Medical Specialties' (ABMS) Richard Hawkins, M.D., discuss the Vision Initiative Commission. The commission, founded by the ABMS and the Council on Medical Specialty Societies, recommended changes for Maintenance of Certification via review of the structure and goals of continuing certification, independent of the ABMS. "The members of the commission grappled with determining the components of continuing certification that provided value to diplomates while demonstrating to users of certification information that diplomates had current knowledge and expertise essential to their specialties," the authors recall. The commission's recommendations are fundamental to the future relevance and viability of continuing certification as a platform for clinicians to publicly validate knowledge and skills. The recommendations reworked interactions among ABMS boards, specialty societies, and continuing medical education/continuing professional development organizations. It was the commission's view that boards are tasked with making summative decisions about a diplomate's continuing certification status, using a cumulative portfolio of information and evaluations. These decisions must stem from multisource data on diplomate performance, while opportunities for remediation must precede certification rescission. The ABMS is expected to devise new standards reflecting an integrated, practice-relevant framework by 2020, with inclusion of flexibility in assessment and improvement activities, requirements for engaging diplomates, consistency in program processes and techniques, and remediation pathways.

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