The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) have long had a successful relationship. Each has an important, unique mission and we have been long-time collaborators, going back to the creation of each organization in the 1930s. More recently, the AAOS has assisted the ABOS in the development of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program and its continuous improvement. With the new Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA), the AAOS, along with other specialty societies, nominated orthopaedic surgeon thought-leaders to participate in the selection of the Knowledge Sources and in the writing of questions.
Each organization believes in the importance of maintaining high standards in the field of orthopaedic surgery. The missions of the two organizations are complementary in maintaining those standards. At times, orthopaedic surgeons do not understand that the ABOS and AAOS are separate organizations. While the organizations function independently, both the AAOS and the ABOS are committed to improving the profession of orthopaedic surgery to benefit our patients. With that in mind, the ABOS and AAOS Boards drafted and approved a joint statement on Certification, Professional Self-Regulation, and the use of Continuing Certification, which is shown below.
ABOS Board Certification and ABOS Continuing Certification are important to both organizations as explained in the statement. The statement demonstrates that both organizations believe in the importance of self-regulation, a topic that I have previously written about in past issues of The Diplomate. Practicing orthopaedic surgeons are the right group to develop and maintain the educational, professional, and performance standards that oversee our profession. The ABOS and AAOS have a shared commitment to regulate and improve the practice of orthopaedic surgery and maintain public trust in the quality of orthopaedic care.
In addition, I want to thank the Presidential Line of the AAOS who recently participated in a video shoot where they discussed the relationship between ABOS and AAOS as well as their views on Board Certification. You can view them here. The videos feature orthopaedic leaders talking about the importance of Certification and Continuous Certification.
Please review the joint statement and the videos and give us your feedback. The AAOS and the ABOS are committed to maintaining and developing relevant and valuable programs to support orthopaedic surgeons at every stage of their careers.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Douglas W. Lundy, MD, MBA
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Below is the statement in full that has been approved by both of our Boards:
JOINT STATEMENT ON CERTIFICATION, PROFESSIONAL SELF-REGULATION, AND THE USE OF CONTINUING CERTIFICATION
American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery / American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) share a desire to maintain high standards for the practice of orthopaedic surgery and to help practicing surgeons meet those standards. The ABOS sets standards for education, practice, and conduct through examination, certification, and continuous certification (Maintenance of Certification) for the benefit of the public; the AAOS develops guidelines for clinical practice, while creating educational and quality programs to help physicians maintain their clinical expertise, improve their clinical skills, and enhance patient care. Together these activities demonstrate our shared professional commitment to regulate and improve the practice of orthopaedic surgery and maintain public trust in the quality of orthopaedic care.
ABOS Board Certification signifies that an orthopaedic surgeon has demonstrated the knowledge, skill, clinical judgment, and professionalism essential for the safe, ethical and effective practice of orthopaedic surgery. The Academy and the Board uphold the highest possible standards of professionalism. One of the commitments we make as professionals is to keep our knowledge and skills current and to promote lifelong learning through the participation in programs of education and assessment to improve them on an ongoing basis. The AAOS and the ABOS share a belief that certification must be revalidated over time through periodic assessment and are committed to working together to assure that programs of continuing certification are clinically appropriate, support the improvement of clinical skills, and demonstrate current clinical expertise.
The AAOS and the ABOS vigorously oppose legislation that would prohibit or inhibit hospitals, employers, or others from using participation in continuous certification in the granting of privileges or employment contracts. We believe that such legislation interferes with the ability of the profession to regulate the quality of specialty care and the ability of hospital medical staffs and other health care organizations to set standards for themselves that best meet the needs of their patients and the public.
It is for these reasons that ABOS Board Certification is trusted by patients and physicians and widely used by medical groups, hospitals, health systems, health plans and employers as an essential quality indicator. Information about ABOS Board Certification and continuing certification must be available, without legal constraint, for consideration by medical groups, hospitals, health systems, health plans and employers in making privileging and credentialing decisions.
To improve the quality of care and outcomes for patients, the ABOS establishes and maintains high standards for competence and lifelong education of ABOS Board Certified orthopaedic surgeons. The AAOS is committed to serve the profession of orthopaedic surgery and orthopaedic surgeons to provide the highest quality musculoskeletal care through education, clinical care guidelines and advocacy. The ABOS and the AAOS are committed to working together to achieve these goals.
Executive Medical Director’s Report
More than 9,500 Diplomates participated in the inaugural American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment Program (ABOS WLA). That represents over 55% of all ABOS Diplomates who hold a time-limited certificate and were eligible to take the ABOS WLA. Over 98% of participants were successful in earning a Quality Year! ABOS Diplomates answered 287,000 questions over the 38-day administration window, with nearly 108,000 questions being answered over the final five days.
We have heard from many Diplomates about how much they enjoyed participating in the ABOS WLA Program. They appreciated being able to choose Knowledge Sources that were of interest and found that reviewing the Knowledge Sources was an educational experience. Taking the assessment at a time and location that was convenient was also seen as a major advantage, as compared to taking an examination at a local testing center.
You should have received an email from RTI International inviting you to participate in a survey about the ABOS WLA. Please take a few minutes to let us know what went well and how the program can be improved upon moving forward. If you did not participate in the program, please complete the survey to let us know why you did not participate in the ABOS WLA. If you did not receive the survey, please send an email to ABOS-Research@rti.org. The Board will review the survey results and utilize that Diplomate feedback to continue to improve the ABOS WLA Program. Look for details about the 2020 ABOS WLA Program later this year.
As a reminder, you do not have to participate in the ABOS WLA Program. You can still take a Computer-Based Recertification Examination or Oral Recertification Examination as the assessment pathway in your Maintenance of Certification program. No matter which assessment pathway you choose, you still must complete a Recertification Application, including your Case List, and earn 240 Continuing Medical Education credits, of which 40 need to be Self-Assessment Examination credits. The best time to submit your Application and Case List is in the 7th year of your 10-year cycle, although these can be submitted in years 7, 8, or 9. The deadline for the Application and Case List is typically December 1st of each year, except when December 1st falls on a weekend, and then the deadline is the following Monday.
We look forward to a successful 2020 ABOS WLA. The Knowledge Source Groups, comprised of veteran orthopaedic surgeons nominated by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and appropriate subspecialty societies, are currently putting together the list of next year’s ABOS WLA Knowledge Sources.
On behalf of the ABOS, I would like to thank the individuals who made the development of the ABOS WLA Program possible. Our Board of Directors and Staff worked tirelessly to launch the program, while volunteer orthopaedic surgeons from across the country assisted in identifying appropriate Knowledge Sources and creating/reviewing assessment questions. Thank you to the journal publishers who allowed our Diplomates to access the Knowledge Sources. The program is a team effort and we will continue to count on each team member as we move forward.
David F. Martin, MD
Executive Medical Director, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
2019 ABOS WLA Statistics:
# of participants: 9,596
% eligible who participated: 55%
% who earned a Quality Year: 98.2%
Total questions administered: 287,366
Average time it took to answer each question: 64.05 seconds
Participating in MOC
Once you complete all of the requirements and pass either the Initial or Recertification Examination to attain or maintain ABOS Board Certification, you are listed on www.abos.org as “Participating in MOC: Yes” for the first three years of your 10-year Maintenance of Certification cycle. To continue to be listed as “Participating in MOC: Yes” after that time, you need to submit a minimum of 120 orthopaedic-related Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits, of which at least 20 are Self-Assessment Examination (SAE) credits, by the end of your third year of the ten year cycle. Those Diplomates who have ABOS Board Certification Certificates that expire in 2026 are in their third year and need to meet the 120/20 threshold by December 31, 2019. If they do not achieve that threshold, then starting January 1, 2020, they will be listed as “Participating in MOC: No” on the ABOS website. That listing will remain until the 120/20 CME/SAE credits are submitted.
Diplomates can upload their CME and SAE credits at www.abos.org. Members of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) can claim CME and SAE credits through their AAOS portal. Those credits will automatically be transferred to the ABOS.
If you have any questions, please contact your Certification Specialist.
ABOS WLA Survey
If your ABOS Board Certification expires in 2019-2028, you should have received an email from RTI International asking you to take a brief survey about the Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA). Whether you participated in the ABOS WLA or not, we ask that you take a few minutes to complete the survey so we can make improvements for the 2020 ABOS WLA. If you did not receive the survey or have questions about it, please contact RTI at ABOS-Research@rti.org.
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