Jitendra Dassani, MD, is a hospitalist who works for Advocate Medical Group at Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago. He passed the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) traditional internal-medicine Maintenance of Certification (MOC) examination in 2008. According to current guidelines, he won’t have to recertify until 2018.
But Dr. Dassani is more than a veteran hospitalist. He’s practiced hospital-based medicine for well over a decade, and is planning on a long and prosperous HM career. In fact, he’s so dedicated to the field that he is planning to recertify through ABIM’s new Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine (FPHM) MOC next year—or, at the very latest, in 2012.
“I’ve been a hospitalist for 13 years, and I think it’s important to have something that can assess your knowledge and abilities as a hospitalist,” says Dr. Dassani, one of nearly 200 hospitalists who have signed up for the FPHM pathway. The first secure exam will be administered in October. “I took the general IM exam in 2008. That’s the traditional ABIM boards; I felt some of the questions were not related to my practice. That’s why I think the [FPHM] is really good and really important.”
He’s not alone. SHM and ABIM are anxious to see where this new MOC pathway goes. SHM leaders think the FPHM offers career validation and a customized MOC process to the 30,000 hospitalists practicing nationwide. ABIM is planning an extensive research effort to analyze a focused-practice MOC, using hospitalists as the test subjects.
One area in which the FPHM varies from the traditional MOC is its every-three-year requirement to complete practice-improvement modules (PIMs). Dr. Dassani likens the higher standard to the kind of continuing education and training programs other specialized fields require.
“I think it’s a good idea. It’s more work, but I support it,” he says. “Every time you get onto a plane, you hope the pilot is certified every six months, versus no one has evaluated the pilot in two years. Your safety is in his hands. Take that same analogy to medicine.
“You will have time,” he adds. “It’s 60 points over three years. One PIM is 40 points, so it’s not overwhelming.”—JC