Physician groups are praising a new option by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) that will offer doctors a self-paced pathway for maintenance of certification (MOC) in place of the traditional long-form assessment route.
The new longitudinal assessment option, announced in late August, would enable physicians to acquire and demonstrate ongoing knowledge through shorter evaluations of specific content. The option, currently under development, also would provide doctors with immediate feedback about their answers and share links to educational material to address knowledge gaps, according to an announcement. While details are still being flushed out, a summary of the longitudinal assessment concept by the American Board of Medical Specialties explains that the approach draws on the principles of adult learning and modern technology “to promote learning, retention, and transfer of information.”
Developing a longitudinal assessment option is part of ABIM’s ongoing evolution, Marianne M. Green, MD, chair for ABIM’s board of directors and ABIM President Richard J. Baron, MD, wrote in a joint letter to internists posted on ABIM’s blog.
“We recognize that some physicians may prefer a more continuous process that easily integrates into their lives and allows them to engage seamlessly at their preferred pace, while being able to access the resources they use in practice,” the doctors wrote.
Douglas DeLong, MD, chair of the American College of Physician’s (ACP) board of regents said the option is a positive, first step that will support lifelong learning. He noted the new option is in line with recommendations by the American Board of Medical Specialties’ Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future Commission, which included ACP concerns.
“It’s pretty clear that some of the principles of adult learning – frequent information with quick feedback, repetition of material, and identifying gaps in knowledge – is really how people most effectively learn,” Dr. DeLong said in an interview. “Just cramming for an examination every decade hasn’t ever really been shown to affect long-term retention of knowledge or even patient care outcomes.”
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