Internists and subspecialists certified in 1990 or later have followed Maintenance of Certification (MOC) procedures created by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) throughout their careers. Now, after nearly three decades, the ABIM has completely overhauled the MOC program, creating new processes and procedures intended to simplify and streamline continuing medical education requirements.
Understanding the New MOC Assessment
One of the most stressful tasks physicians face is the requirement to take a comprehensive MOC assessment every 10 years. As ABIM considered options for the revised MOC program, careful consideration was given to practitioners’ request for greater flexibility when it comes to completing assessments. Specifically, physicians named convenience, relevance and choice as their primary concerns with MOC assessments.
ABIM responded with a new option – a shorter assessment administered every two years. As the program develops further, these shorter assessments will be tailored to particular specialties, increasing their relevance for participants. The new program will be available to eligible physicians who have current certifications in Internal Medicine or Nephrology via a pilot program rolling out in 2018.
At that time, eligible physicians will be able to choose between a longer open-book assessment administered every 10 years or a shorter open-book ABIM knowledge check-in administered every two years. The open-book feature will give those taking the assessment access to an outside source of information. Individuals that do well on the knowledge check-ins will not be required to take the standard 10-year exam. The new assessment offers immediate notification of pass/fail status, with more detailed results at a later point. Note that individuals whose certifications are set to expire before the check-in is available must take the standard 10-year exam to remain certified.
In an effort to encourage physicians to try the new program, it has been decided that in 2018, passing scores will be recorded, but failing scores will carry no consequences. Those who fail the check-in in 2018 will have an opportunity to retake the assessment in 2020. Note that two consecutive failed check-ins could result in loss of certification unless the individual is then able to take and pass the longer 10-year exam.
Eligibility for the ABIM Knowledge Check-In
The two-year option will be available for additional subspecialties in the coming years. Knowledge check-ins are expected to be ready for the following subspecialties in 2019:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Geriatric Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism
- Infectious Disease
- Pulmonary Disease
In 2020, the following subspecialties may also be able to participate:
- Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology
- Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology
- Critical Care Medicine
- Hospice & Palliative Medicine
- Hospital Medicine
- Interventional Cardiology
- Medical Oncology
- Sleep Medicine
- Transplant Hepatology
In addition to test centers, check-in assessments can be taken in physician’s homes or offices, dramatically increasing convenience.
Maintaining ABIM certification requires more than an assessment. Physicians must still participate in Continuing Medical Education (CME) and related activities to earn MOC points. At least once every two years, participants must earn points from a minimum of one activity to be considered active. Every five years, participants must earn at least 100 MOC points, 20 of which must be Medical Knowledge. A comprehensive learning management system for CME makes it easier to earn credits towards MOC requirements, and they provide CME credit tracking for greater convenience.
For delivering CME credits and MOC points, consider working with EthosCE. EthosCE is the industry-leading, SCORM-compliant learning management system designed to automate and modernize the delivery of continuing education in the health professions. We work closely with leading medical association, academic centers, and health system to optimize their technology infrastructure and create an easy-to-use and intuitive environment for learners and CME administrators alike. For more information about our EthosCE, please contact us at 267-234-7401.