The topic for this month’s President’s Message are the ABOS Oral Examinations taking place this week in Chicago.
More than 750 Part II Candidates, along with nearly 150 Oral Recertification Candidates, will take an ABOS Oral Examination starting Monday. In addition, 220 orthopaedic surgeons will take time away from their practices, travel to Chicago, and participate as ABOS Oral Examiners. These are incredibly dedicated people representing all orthopaedic surgery subspecialties from private and academic practices across the country. Without these individuals, the Oral Examinations would simply not happen. If you are interested in becoming an ABOS Oral Examiner, please complete the Volunteer Form that can be accessed on your ABOS Dashboard. All ABOS Diplomates are eligible to be Oral Examiners upon completion of their first Recertification.
Oral Examinations have been part of the ABOS Board Certification process since almost the time the ABOS was established in 1934. While the process has changed over the years, they are still an integral component of Certification and Recertification. Candidates must pass the Part II Oral Examination as the final step toward achieving ABOS Board Certification following 20 months in practice after completion of an ACGME-accredited residency and successful completion of the Part I Examination. In addition, some Diplomates elect to recertify through the Oral Examination pathway instead of a Computer-Based Examination or other MOC Part III examination pathways now currently available. Some recertifying Diplomates are directed by the Board to take an Oral Examination for reasons such as lapse of Certification or other circumstances.
Those applying for a Part II Examination must submit all surgical cases from April-September of the year prior to the Examination into the ABOS Scribe Case List System. Newly instituted is the use of Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs) data for the Part II Examination. After receiving patients’ permission, Candidates submit patient email addresses for surgical cases performed in the May-June time frame (April-June for those taking the 2019 Part II Examination). Recently, those Candidates received the baseline, six-months, and 12-months PROs data from the ABOS for participating patients. Those taking an Oral Recertification Examination submit all their surgical cases from the previous year, up to a maximum of 75 cases.
For Part II and Oral Recertification, 12 cases are selected from the Candidate’s/Diplomate’s Case List. The cases are selected by volunteer orthopaedic surgeon Case Selectors who are also experienced Oral Examiners. The Candidate/Diplomate then uploads electronic medical records for each of these 12 cases into Scribe. Diplomates receive a list of what records need to be uploaded. The ABOS has worked hard to eliminate documents not needed for the Examination while decreasing the time and effort required to upload information. For ACL Reconstruction - CPT 29888 and Arthroscopic Shoulder Stabilization - CPT 29806, the ABOS now permits Part II Candidates to submit short arthroscopic videos to help illustrate those surgical cases.
With the Examination completely computer-based, Candidates and Diplomates are no longer required to bring paper documents or records to the Examination as many of you probably did at the time of your Part II Examination. All the records uploaded by the Candidate/Diplomate prior to the Examination are available on each of the examination testing station computers in the Oral Examination hall. Numerous redundancies are in place to ensure the examinations run smoothly from an electronic perspective. The Oral Examinations are the product of years of study, analysis, feedback, and redesign. The most recent changes include increased Examiner/Examinee contact time to improve test validity and a shift to have all patient records and radiographs in the electronic environment.
Typically, the Examinee is questioned about three cases in each of four 25-minute sessions so that by the end of their testing time, all their cases are covered by the Examiners.
Examiners score each case on the following criteria:
- Data Gathering
- Diagnosis and Interpretive Skill
- Treatment Plan
- Technical Skill
- Applied Knowledge
In addition, they score each Candidate on:
- Surgical Indications
- Surgical Complications
- Ethics and Professionalism
After the Oral Examinations are complete, the ABOS works extensively with psychometricians to ensure the validity of the Examination. Examiners are statistically rated on severity and consistency and adjustments are made so that a Candidate will have passed or failed based on the examination and not based on the severity or leniency of their particular Examiners. After receiving and analyzing data from psychometricians, the Oral Examination Committee sets the pass/fail point and Examinees are notified that their results are posted on their Password-Protected Portal on www.abos.org. Last year, 743 Candidates took the Part II Examination with 689 passing (93%).
It is an honor to serve the public as the President of the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. As always, if you have any feedback, please email me at email@example.com.
Peter M. Murray, MD
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Executive Medical Director’s Report
The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has launched a new website that is geared towards your patients. This website will focus on showing patients and the public why they should choose an ABOS Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon for their orthopaedic needs. You can get to this site by either going to www.mycertifiedorthopaedicsurgeon.org or visiting www.abos.org and clicking on “For Patients.”
Through text, images, and videos, we explain to patients the benefits of choosing an ABOS Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon. The site features an animated video that chronicles the training involved in becoming an orthopaedic surgeon and the additional requirements and achievements required to become an ABOS Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon. There are also five videos of patients explaining the importance of choosing an ABOS Board Certified Orthopaedic Surgeon and talking about their orthopaedic care experiences. In addition, I have added two explanatory videos: one about Board Certification and one about Maintenance of Certification (MOC). We hope that you will share this website with your patients - you can do that by placing the web address on your practice website.
The ABOS is committed to helping ABOS Board Certified surgeons distinguish themselves. Many of you have already added the ABOS Board Certified logo widget to your website. If you have not, you can download the widget from your ABOS Dashboard. We also have new ABOS Board Certified lapel pins and window clings. Redesigned patient brochures explaining ABOS Board Certification and MOC processes are also popular; you can always contact our office if you want copies of those brochures. They are available at no charge. Starting later this year, when you Recertify you will receive a package that not only includes your Certificate, but also a packet of patient brochures, the pin, and the window cling. I’m proud to be an ABOS Diplomate and I hope you are as well.
The ABOS has also undertaken a marketing/communications research project. Our marketing partner has been conducting one-on-one interviews and focus groups with ABOS Diplomates. It’s an exciting project aimed at communicating better with you, our Diplomates. In the fall of this year, we will share highlights of their findings. This will allow us to make further improvements on our Diplomate communications.
As always, you can reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments that you have. I am also available to discuss ABOS issues with you by telephone conference – to set that up, click on this link.
David F. Martin, MD
Executive Medical Director, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery