It is truly an honor to serve as President of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS). As the delivery of medical care in the U.S. evolves, the ABOS must continually adapt in order to meet its obligation to the public, the profession, and our Diplomates.
The ABOS has many different responsibilities, but my priority goal for the year involves the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. The public expects and deserves a formal and meaningful process ensuring ongoing education along with evaluation and documentation of a high level of competence. The ABOS is committed to refining and maintaining an MOC process that is cost and time effective for the Diplomates without compromising on that responsibility to the public. Simplicity and communication to those participating in MOC are keys to meeting those goals. I believe an appropriately rigorous MOC process is necessary to preserve the value of ABOS Board Certification for our Diplomates.
Several recent modifications are being developed and implemented to continue to ensure that the ABOS MOC process is pertinent to the individual practices of our Diplomates. The ABOS is adding three additional Practice-Profiled Examinations in Trauma, Foot and Ankle, and Pediatrics. While these three new Practice-Profiled Examinations will not be administered until 2018, the ABOS Written Examination Committee will be working with the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and the appropriate specialty societies to perform a job task analysis, to participate in the development of examination blueprints, and appropriate question writing during the calendar year 2017. All Practice-Profiled and Subspecialty Recertification Examinations, beginning in 2017, will contain only content pertinent to that practice area or subspecialty. The general orthopaedic questions that have traditionally been included with no longer be part of the examinations.
The ABOS staff is hard working and knowledgeable. My fellow Directors on the ABOS are incredibly dedicated and generous in donating their time, effort, and expertise. As President I look forward to working with them and our Diplomates. If you have questions or suggestions, do not hesitate to reach out to me through the Board office.
James Roberson, MD
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Executive Medical Director's Report
The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has improved our complication collection system. As part of the application process for the ABOS Part II Examination and ABOS Recertification Examinations, all applicants are required to enter surgical cases in ABOS’s digital Scribe case list system. The information entered with each case includes any complications that may have occurred. Over the past year the ABOS Board of Directors has been working on a new classification system of complications. The system will not only improve the feedback that the ABOS can provide to applicants, but will also streamline the method that applicants utilize to enter complications into the Scribe case list system.
The new system better defines what complications should be included when applicants enter cases and also provides more complete information to the ABOS concerning these complications. This new system will improve the feedback that we can provide to applicants. Requests for improved feedback to our applicants is something that the ABOS has been receiving and this new complication reporting system will help us respond to those requests.
The new system is interactive and is easy to use. For each case, applicants will need to indicate whether there were any complications in one of three categories:
- Anesthetic Complications
- Surgical/Technical Complications
- Medical Complications
Each time an applicant denotes that a complication has occurred, based on the three categories listed above, additional fields will appear on the screen. Applicants will check the box next to each complication for that case and then use the pull-down menu to classify the severity of the complication. After all complications have been entered for a particular case, the applicant will need to briefly explain the complication. Finally, the case is completely entered when the applicant hits the “save case” button.
ABOS has created a video to show how to use the Scribe case list entering system. The video can be viewed by clicking on this link. It is also linked on the ABOS website, abos.org.
Those who apply for a computer-based multiple choice Recertification Examination must enter into the Scribe system all surgical cases from three consecutive months (up to a maximum of 75 cases) of their practice sometime during the two years prior to their examination year. For example, those applicants who want to take the 2018 examination must document in Scribe all surgical cases—up to 75—from any three consecutive months of 2016. Applicants who apply for an Oral Recertification Examination must enter six consecutive months of surgical cases from anytime during the two years prior to the examination, with no maximum.
These changes to our complication selection system should help applicants when entering their cases and allow the ABOS to provide valuable feedback to all applicants. The ABOS is continuing to improve our processes and systems; feedback from our Diplomates and applicants isvital to our continual improvement. As always, please contact the ABOS office if you have any questions or concerns.
David F. Martin, MD
Executive Medical Director, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Chief Operating Officer
In 2014, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery’s (ABOS) Board of Directors decided to add the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) to its executive staff. The COO position was added in order to better direct all ABOS operations and staff.
The intricate processes of Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification, along with our expanding Diplomate population have continued to occupy additional staff. As we strive to streamline all of our processes, further staff supervision became critical. In addition, the Executive Director position was modified to that of Executive Medical Director (EMD) and in order for the EMD to focus on communication with candidates, Diplomates, orthopaedic organizations/related specialty societies, and the general public, the COO position became necessary.
I had the honor of being one of the ABOS Board Members on the COO Search Committee, which managed a national search for the individual to take over as our COO. It was through this process that the Board was introduced to Mr. Aaron White. Aaron quickly became our first choice for the new position and we were delighted when he accepted our offer to become an integral part of the ABOS. Aaron assumed the position as the COO of the ABOS on December 1, 2014. I am also fortunate to have taken over the EMD position a month ago and am enjoying the team that Aaron and I have created to move the ABOS forward and better serve the public and our Diplomates.
Aaron came to the ABOS with over 20 years of business experience, including over a decade serving as the Executive Director of a number of smaller medical-related certification boards. His leadership experience has involved serving in the Executive Director position for Cardiovascular Credentialing International and for the National Board of Echocardiography. Aaron has also served as the General Manager of a firm that managed the day-to-day operations for over 30 not-for-profit organizations, including certification/licensure boards, professional societies, and trade associations.
Aaron brought his passion and experience for personnel credentialing, organizational management, and operations to the ABOS. In less than two years on the job, he has implemented numerous changes that not only have benefitted the organization’s operations, but also the public and the Diplomates of ABOS.
When not working on ABOS functions, Aaron is a family man, spending time with his lovely wife Jane and his four-year-old son Charlie. He makes some of the best barbecue in North Carolina and also raises chickens, supplying organic eggs to our entire staff. Aaron is an avid ACC sports fan, most often wearing the red and white of the North Carolina State Wolfpack.
The ABOS is lucky to have someone with Aaron’s experience, energy, and integrity to further our missions. Our team in Chapel Hill benefits from his dedication every day. Please do not hesitate to call Aaron or me with your issues and suggestions regarding ABOS processes.
David F. Martin, MD
Executive Medical Director
2018 ABOS Recertification Examination Application is Available
The 2018 ABOS Recertification Examination application is now available through your password protected portal at abos.org. The application, fee, and case list are due by 4:00 pm ET on May 1, 2017. You also must submit and have approved 240 orthopaedic-related Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits, of which 40 must be Self-Assessment Examinations (SAE) credits or other ABOS approved practice improvement activities that qualify for SAE credit. Those activities can be accessed on the ABOS website.
The 2018 ABOS Examination menu will feature three new Practice-Profiled Examinations:
- Orthopaedic Trauma,
- Pediatric Orthopaedic Surgery, and
- Foot and Ankle Surgery.
There is also a change to the ABOS Scribe case list reporting system. See Dr. Martin’s article in this issue for more information.
The changes made for the 2017 ABOS Recertification Examinations are still in effect: there are no general orthopaedic questions on any Practice-Profiled or Subspecialty Examination and any ABOS Diplomate can take the Surgery of the Hand or Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Examinations. Please note that while these examinations are available to all Diplomates, a Diplomate will not earn a Subspecialty Certification for taking a Practice-Profiled Hand or Sports examination. The application process for obtaining Subspecialty Certification is outlined on the ABOS website.
As a reminder, ABOS Diplomates can take an examination up to two years prior to the expiration of their certificate, giving them three chances to pass. The 2018 ABOS Examinations are open to those whose certificates expire in 2018, 2019, or 2020. The new certificate would expire 10 years after the current certificate expires. For example, a Diplomate who has a certificate that expires in 2020 but takes and passes the 2018 Recertification Examination will have a new certificate that expires on December 31, 2030.