The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) needs your input on options for the Part III Knowledge Assessment aspect of Maintenance of Certification (MOC). ABOS is continually working to decrease our Diplomates' burdens and expenses wherever possible without compromising the value of ABOS Board Certification. On August 18, Diplomates who were Board Certified as of that day were sent an email survey from ABOS and RTI International (RTI) to assess preferences. If you have not completed the survey, you have until September 10 at 11:59 pm. If you have not received the email survey, please check your “spam/junk” mail folder and/or email ABOS-Research@rti.org. We want to be sure that you have a chance to voice your opinions about potential new MOC pathways.
We are now considering two additional new pathways for Part III of MOC on which we need your feedback. Those are a Virtual Practice Assessment and an Online Longitudinal Assessment.
The ABOS piloted the Virtual Practice Assessment in July. This option entails an assessment of 12 cases selected from a Diplomate’s Case List by experienced surgeon examiners in their specialty without the Diplomate being present, thus eliminating the need to travel. We are currently assessing the results and feedback from the pilot.
The Longitudinal Assessment involves periodic, likely quarterly or twice yearly, online questions answered throughout the ten-year MOC cycle rather than a single examination at the end of the cycle.
ABOS has used Diplomate feedback when implementing multiple recent changes to our MOC Program, including:
- Adding three new Practice-Profiled Recertification Examinations (Foot/Ankle, Pediatrics, and Trauma) to the existing Adult Reconstructive, Spine, and General Orthopaedics Recertification Examinations, Hand, and Sports Medicine.
- Removing the 80 general orthopaedic questions from all ABOS Practice-Profiled Examinations.
- Allowing all Diplomates the opportunity to take an Orthopaedic Sports Medicine or Surgery of the Hand Practice-Profiled Recertification Examination.
Other concurrent process changes include:
- Providing detailed blueprints for all ABOS Examinations to guide education and study. These are available on the ABOS web site.
- Eliminating the MOC CME fee which was paid after the submittal of 120 CME/20 SAE.
- Standardizing the deadline and timeframe for Application and Case List submission across all examination options.
- Streamlining the Application and Peer Review processes.
- Limiting Case List entry requirements to a maximum of 75 cases for all Diplomates.
Feedback from you on which of the available MOC options you would likely choose will provide valuable direction on how the ABOS should best direct resources. We greatly appreciate your time to complete the survey.
James R. Roberson, MD
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Executive Medical Director’s Report
Nearly 2,400 Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeons hold an American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Subspecialty Certificate in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, while another 1,800 hold an ABOS Subspecialty Certificate in Surgery of the Hand. There are 38 ABOS Diplomates who hold both Subspecialty Certificates. I have had my Sports Medicine Subspecialty Certificate since 2007 and I encourage my eligible colleagues to apply for a Subspecialty Certificate as well. In this article, I would like to describe the process to obtain ABOS Subspecialty Certification. You can also learn more by participating in a webinar on September 12 at 6 pm ET. You can register for that Tuesday evening event by clicking on this link.
After passing both the ABOS Part I Written and Part II Oral Examinations, an orthopaedic surgeon becomes an ABOS Board Certified Diplomate for 10 years. Those individuals hold a General Orthopaedic Surgery Certificate. Any time after earning that General Certificate, and meeting the application requirements, an ABOS Diplomate can apply to obtain a Subspecialty Certificate in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine or Surgery of the Hand.
The Subspecialty Certificate is tailored to give extra recognition to those ABOS Board Certified orthopaedic surgeons who have demonstrated qualifications in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine or Surgery of the Hand beyond those expected of other orthopaedic surgeons by virtue of additional training, a practice characterized by a volume of cases in sports medicine/hand surgery, and significant contributions to their field.
Applicants must have completed a one year fellowship in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine/Surgery of the Hand that is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). In addition, a one year Case List must be submitted with requirements for the types of cases that are submitted. More information about the requirements can be found at www.abos.org/subspecialties.
Applications for ABOS Subspecialty Certification are available by logging on to your password protected portal at www.abos.org with a deadline of February 1. The examination consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and is given over a four-hour time period. The examination is designed to evaluate the candidate's cognitive knowledge relevant to Orthopaedic Sports Medicine or Surgery of the Hand. The initial Subspecialty Certification Examination is offered through Prometric Testing Centers across the United States on one day each year.
Eligibility to sit for the examination is determined by the ABOS Credentials Committee and the passing rate for the examination is generally well above 90%. Upon passing the examination, ABOS Diplomates receive the Subspecialty Certificate with an expiration date matching their General Certificate. Recertification of both Certificates will then consist of one Combined Examination—currently offered as either a computer-based or an oral examination. For those few Diplomates who hold both subspecialty certificates, it is required that they take a Combined Examination to certify their General Certificate and one of the Subspecialty Certificates and an additional Recertification Examination in the other subspecialty.
Starting in 2017, corresponding with the ability for any ABOS Diplomate to sit for a Practice-Profiled Orthopaedic Sports Medicine or Surgery of the Hand Computer-Based Examination, any Diplomate who qualifies for a subspecialty examination AND who is due to renew their General Orthopaedic Surgery Certificate may apply separately for both the initial Subspecialty Examination and a corresponding Practice Profiled Examination. If the Diplomate is approved for both examinations then the Diplomate will be allowed to utilize the administration of one examination for both the initial subspecialty and the recertification of their General Orthopaedic Surgery Certificate. Please contact the ABOS for additional information.
The Subspecialty Certificate demonstrates your expertise in your subspecialty and sets you apart from your colleagues. The ABOS is currently working on additional ways to demonstrate the value of Subspecialty Certification to your patients.
David F. Martin, MD
Executive Medical Director, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery