Defining Moment: Focused Practice in HM


Even though she'd completed the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) in 2009, Melinda Johnson, MD, was excited to learn about the ABIM's new Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine (FPHM) pathway in 2010. So pleased was Dr. Johnson that she immediately signed up for the program and joined 141 others taking the first FPHM exam in October.

Now Dr. Johnson, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, is among 67 hospitalists in the first class of FPHMs. They not only passed the exam, but also fulfilled all of the MOC requirements (attestation, education modules, and practice-improvement modules).

"I'm really excited about it," says Dr. Johnson, who has been a hospitalist since 2007. "It really helps me to feel like I'm defining myself and helping to define our new, young group."

Dr. Johnson says passing the secure exam, which differs slightly from the internal-medicine exam, places her at what she calls the "forefront of the hospitalist movement."

"I find exams very helpful from the standpoint that they give me a good reason to study," she says. "It's important to me to be as up-to-date and as good at what I do as possible. We have residents with us all the time, medical students, and I really want to do this right."

Unlike the traditional recertification pathway, FPHM diplomates are required to complete the practice-improvement modules, or PIMs, every three years. Dr. Johnson completed the ABIM's teammate assessment PIM, which is designed to help hospitalists assess and improve how they work with other professionals and care for patients.

"It was marvelous," she says. "You send out surveys to the people from your interdisciplinary team, and you could only have one or so physicians. The rest were social workers, physical therapists, nurses—you name it. Since inpatient [care] is so much a team sport, if you will, I was really glad I could take part in that."

ABIM recently approved two SHM initiatives, Project BOOST and the VTE Prevention Collaborative, for MOC credit. Hospitalists can receive 20 practice-improvement points toward their MOC.

The next FPHM exam is in April. Registration for the fall exam opens May 1.

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