The Board of Directors greatly appreciates the feedback we receive from diplomates, through formal channels such as surveys, and informally, such as at conferences and meetings. ABOS has recently made several improvements to our exams to address concerns and suggestions that we have heard from you.
The first change, which is explained in more detail in Dr. Martin’s article, relates to the recertification multiple choice examinations. Many diplomates have indicated they want to be tested on knowledge that is related to their practice as closely as possible. The Board feels we have taken positive steps to address this concern and hope that you will agree.
First, there will be no general orthopaedic questions on any practice-profiled examinations starting in 2017; all questions will be focused on the practice profile. Secondly, in addition to the Spine and Adult Reconstructive exams, we are developing three additional practice-profile recertification examinations that will be added in 2018 (Trauma, Pediatrics, and Foot/Ankle). See table below for the full list and timing of availability of these new exam formats. And finally, starting in 2017, anyone can take a Hand or Sports Medicine practice-profiled recertification examination.
Please also take a look at the article on the communications survey results. The feedback is important to the Board and we are grateful to those who took the time to participate in the survey. In addition to directing us to make changes to the exams, the biggest take away from the responses is that diplomates want personal updates. We have been doing that for some time now, but have greatly increased these over the last six months or so. Now you will receive emails with information that direclty affects you, such as a reminder that you need to complete an application you started or you still need to upload CMEs in order to continue to participate in MOC. We are working on the technology to truly make it a personal email about your individual situation.
The Board is discussing other items you have brought up and will announce any changes once they are approved and finalized. Please continue to answer any surveys you receive from ABOS and reach out to any Board member. You are always welcome to address any concerns you have with the Board office.
Best wishes for a safe and productive summer.
Larry Marsh, MD
Interim Executive Director Report:
The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) is dedicated to a meaningful Maintenance of Certification process and has continued to improve the program since its inception. Our diplomates have asked for recertification examinations that relate more closely to their practice. I am happy to report that the ABOS has made positive changes to the recertification examinations in an attempt to achieve that goal. Some of those changes will be in place as soon as next year.
- Starting in 2017, the 80 general orthopaedic questions that have been a part of the practice-profiled recertification examinations in Spine Surgery and Adult Reconstructive Surgery since their inception will no longer be included. Those examinations and the general orthopaedics examination will now consist of 150 questions pertinent only to those practice profiles.
- Starting in 2017, the recertification examinations in the fields of Orthopaedic Sports Medicine and Surgery of the Hand will be available to orthopaedic surgeons who do not have those subspecialty certifications, but who wish to be examined in these practice-profiled areas. Previously, these examinations have only been available to diplomates who hold Subspecialty Certification in those areas. These two recertification examinations will consist of 175 questions in these practice areas and will also not include general orthopaedic questions. They will continue to be administered in September (Hand) and October (Sports). To utilize these examinations to renew Subspecialty Certification, one must still have passed the initial subspecialty examination and have earned the Subspecialty Certificate.
- Starting in 2018, the ABOS is pleased to announce that practice-profiled examinations will be offered in the fields of
- Orthopaedic Trauma,
- Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, and
- Foot and Ankle Surgery.
Each of those examinations will consist of 150 questions, pertinent only to those subspecialties and be administered in March and April.
||Current Format / Item Breakdown
||New Format / Item Breakdown
||First Year New Format / Item Breakdown
||200 General Items
||150 General Items
|Spine - Practice Profiled
||80 General Items and 120 Spine Items
||150 Spine Items
|Adult Recon - Practice Profiled
||80 General Items and 120 Adult Recon Items
||150 Adult Recon Items
|Trauma - Practice Profiled
||150 Trauma Items
|Pediatric - Practice Profiled
||150 Pediatric Items
|Foot/Ankle - Practice Profiled
||150 Foot/Ankle Items
||80 General Items and 120 Sports Items
||175 Sports Items (Starting in 2017, any diplomate with a sports-based practice can take this exam)
||80 General Items and 175 Hand Items
||175 Hand Items (Starting in 2017, any diplomate with a hand-based practice can take this exam)
|Initial Sports Subspecialty
||192 Sports Items
||175 Sports Items
|Initial Hand Subspecialty
||175 Hand Items
||175 Hand Items
These changes are exciting and are representative of the ABOS’s continued commitment to improvement of our processes. We welcome your feedback and remain committed to making the Maintenance of Certification process meaningful and valuable. Please continue to provide us with your feedback—both positive and negative. Thank you.
David F. Martin, MD
Interim Executive Director
Jason Anderson, IT Administrator
For the past four years, Jason Anderson has helped both diplomates and staff address technology issues and concerns. In fact, Jason was a contractor who helped staff the Oral Examinations prior to his employment with the ABOS.
Jason now maintains the in-house IT infrastructure including computers, servers, and telephones. IT is a key facet of most businesses and the ABOS is no exception. Jason ensures that all components are working as they should and is also a primary contact for ABOS candidates and diplomates when they have issues with technology associated with examination applications.
Every diplomate remembers the Oral Examination as an event with numerous moving parts. The Oral Exams have grown in complexity over the years with advances in technology. Jason spends the month prior to the oral examinations in Chicago leading a group of IT professionals in the set-up, testing, and management of more than 400 computers for the examinations.
Jason has had a diverse professional career including serving as a help desk employee, EMT, and certified nursing assistant, all in Chicago where he was born and raised. His interest in computers started at a very young age.
Away from the office, Jason enjoys spending time with his wife and taking road trips.
We appreciate the hard work and professionalism Jason provides to staff and diplomates, always eager to help out.
Chief Operating Officer
More than 1,600 diplomates completed an online communications survey sent by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) in March. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedules to complete it. The results have helped shape how we communicate with you.
Three-fourths of you said you were very interested in receiving communication from ABOS on your maintenance of certification (MOC) status/progress; updates/changes to MOC; and upcoming deadlines and reminders. Even prior to this survey going out, we made it a commitment to send personal reminders of your MOC status and when you had upcoming deadlines.
Instead of generic messages that may not affect you, we are tailoring emails to individual situations; in many cases, you may not receive a communication if you have already met a deadline or the information is not applicable. We will continue to send personal reminders and are working on methods to truly personalize the messages.
You indicated that your preferred choices of communication are single-topic emails, abos.org, and the password-protected portal. We are redesigning our website and password protected portal to make them more visually appealing, add additional content, and to make it easier to find the information you need.
Less than 10% of you said you would like to receive information about ABOS through social media. Less than one-quarter said that text messages were a good idea. At this time, ABOS has no plans to communicate through text messages or social media, but will regularly evaluate communication methods.
Most respondents said that online tutorials would be helpful. We have created the following tutorials and are developing others:
• Uploading/transferring CME/SAE credits
• Uploading documents and images to your case list when preparing for an oral examination
Every comment was reviewed by ABOS staff. Several people indicated that they did not know we had videos on abos.org about preparing for an oral examination; we have since made them easier to find.
Many of you also wrote in with your suggestions about changes to MOC, including asking that there be examinations that mimic their practice. As you can see throughout this issue, we have listened to you and have made many changes to the recertification examinations so that you will likely have an examination that is similar to your practice.
There will be a follow-up communications survey in 2017 as well as other surveys this year—some to all diplomates and some to subsets. For example, we recently surveyed those who registered for a 2017 recertification examination and are compiling the results now.