American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

January 2019 Diplomate

Posted On: January 1, 2019

President’s Message

In the last issue of The Diplomate (December 2018), I wrote about the value of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) to ABOS Diplomates. In this article, I would like to provide more information on the value of MOC specifically in two related areas. First, how patients perceive the importance of Board Certification/MOC and how this perception impacts orthopaedic surgeons; and second, how ABOS’s MOC program assists our Diplomates.

The Mission Statement of the ABOS is:

“To ensure safe, ethical, and effective practice of orthopaedic surgery, the ABOS maintains the highest standards for education, practice, and conduct through examination, certification, and maintenance of certification for the benefit of the public.”

As you can see, the organization’s mission is focused on the protection of the public. The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) is not a “membership organization” like the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) or the associated subspecialty societies. However, even though the best interests of the patient are at the center of the ABOS mission, the individual Diplomate should realize significant value from Board Certification/MOC. The fact that we are a self-regulating body that ensures that our Diplomates protect patient well-being and safety underscores the value of your certificate. The fact that we as a profession decide the criteria to be able to hold such a certificate shows the public that we understand the massive responsibility that we have as professionals. When the public looks at our certification processes, they realize that we as a profession care that we “do the right thing”.

On numerous occasions, I have heard from colleagues that patients “don’t know or don’t care” about Board Certification. Studies show however, that patients do place high value on their physicians’ Board Certification status. According to a survey conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago in 2018 on behalf of the American Board of Medical Specialties, 82% of the roughly 1,800 respondents stated that “Board Certification” was an important decision when choosing a physician, second only to that physician being covered by the patient’s insurance. In the same survey, 77% of respondents said that Board Certified physicians provide a higher quality of care than those who are not Board Certified. Most consumers believe that physicians should do more than just “obtain a state medical license” to practice medicine throughout their career, and they expect their physicians to stay up-to-date with the latest advances in their specialty. We know that our patients desire the best knowledge and skills from their physicians, and our patients correlate ABOS Board Certification with the highest standards in musculoskeletal care.

The remaining question is “do patients know the specifics about Board Certification”? We understand that many patients simply assume their physician is Board Certified. With this in mind, the ABOS launched a website last year targeted at the general population. This website,, is intended to educate patients on the importance of Board Certification and provide information about ABOS’s certification and recertification process.

The ABOS understands the demands on orthopaedic surgeons today. I am an orthopaedic surgeon in private practice who performed more than 700 surgeries in 2018. In 2018, I finished the application for the Trauma Computer-Based Recertification Examination that I will take this year to recertify. We understand that patients believe in a form of assessing knowledge and skills through a recertification process. We recognize that our profession should be regulated by actively practicing orthopaedic surgeons who themselves participate in MOC and not by some governmental entity. The ABOS MOC program is designed and managed by orthopaedic surgeons who compose the ABOS Board of Directors. As much as possible, we want MOC to be valuable and relevant to you. Over the past two years, we have expanded the number of Computer-Based Recertification Examination Practice-Profiled options, and this year we will launch a new MOC Part III pathway—the ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA).

Much of this work has been in collaboration with the AAOS and the various orthopaedic subspecialty societies. I, along with my fellow Board Members and our staff, strive to incorporate feedback from our Diplomates into our assessment processes. This collaboration with our related professional societies ensures that orthopaedic surgeons continue to control the certification process for the field of orthopaedic surgery.

I want to thank each of you for the dedication you provide to your patients. It is my pleasure to serve as a representative of our field, and know that I, along with my fellow Board Members and staff, are working to serve our patients as well as you, our Diplomates.

Douglas W. Lundy, MD, MBA
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Executive Medical Director’s Report

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) have partnered to support the ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholars Program for the fifth consecutive year. This outstanding Program fosters research that informs physician assessment and certification, supports the development of next generation leaders, and helps build awareness about the value of Board Certification to external audiences.

The one-year, part-time program provides the ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholar with opportunities to:

  • Gain exposure to the fields of quality improvement, health care policy, physician assessment, and continuing professional development
  • Engage with national health care leaders and the ABMS Member Boards
  • Conduct research of value to their programs, organizations, and the certification community
  • Present and disseminate their research
  • Expand their professional networks

To learn about the projects of the previous ABOS-ABMS Scholars and view videos from two of them, click on this link. The ABOS has sponsored four highly accomplished Visiting Scholars. Please share this program with your junior colleagues and residents. It is a wonderful opportunity.

Remaining at their home institutions and organizations, the Visiting Scholars participate in program webinars and pursue research projects in collaboration with identified mentors. Visiting Scholars also participate in three, three-day meetings during the course of the year with ABMS and Member Board leaders and the leadership of ABMS Associate Members, among others. Once the year is over, scholars can continue their ties with the ABOS and ABMS Board Communities through an alumni network. Visiting Scholars receive a stipend to support their research and program participation.

The Visiting Scholars Program is open to early career physicians, junior faculty, fellows, residents, and individuals holding a Master’s or Doctorate degree in public health, health services research, and public health policy and administration, or other related disciplines. The current ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholars Program Application must be received by 5 pm CT on May 1, 2019. Click here to read more about the program and the application process.

Register here for a free, hour-long informational webinar at 6 pm CT on March 27, 2019, to learn more about the Visiting Scholars Program.

David F. Martin, MD
Executive Medical Director, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

New ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment Program Launches

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has launched a new Knowledge Assessment option as part of the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. Diplomates will now have an option that they can complete instead of sitting for an ABOS Computer-Based or Oral Recertification Examinations. The new Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA) Program will involve yearly review of Orthopaedic Knowledge Sources and open-book questions delivered to participating Diplomates’ computers. Diplomates may now begin reviewing and selecting Knowledge Sources for the 2019 inaugural administration of the ABOS WLA Program. They can access these Knowledge Sources from their ABOS WLA Portal by going to, logging in to their ABOS Dashboard, and clicking on the button “ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment Platform.”

ABOS Diplomates who plan to participate in the program in 2019 will need to select 15 of the 101 Knowledge Sources to study in-depth. They will then answer questions based on those 15 Knowledge Sources during the 2019 ABOS WLA assessment window (April 15 to May 20). The chosen Knowledge Sources will form the basis for 30 multiple-choice questions (two from each chosen source) that will be delivered to their personal computer during the assessment window.

More information about the ABOS WLA can be found on

2020 ABOS MOC/Recertification Application Open + Webinar

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Application to qualify you to sit for an ABOS Recertification Examination in 2020, 2021, or 2022 can be accessed by going to and logging in to your ABOS Dashboard. In order to take a Recertification Examination in 2020, you must apply by 4 pm ET, December 2, 2019.

Those whose Board Certification expires in 2020, 2021, or 2022 are eligible to apply. If your Certification expires in 2020-2022 and you plan on taking the ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA), you still must submit an Application. Those whose Certification expires in 2020 must complete the Application this year. If your ABOS Board Certification expires in 2021 or 2022, you are strongly encouraged to complete the Application now.

ABOS Executive Medical Director David F. Martin, MD, will be hosting a free webinar on the ABOS MOC Application process on Thursday, February 28, 2019, at 6 pm ET. To register for the webinar, click on this link.

Prior to the application deadline, you must complete the following steps through your ABOS Dashboard at

To satisfy the Knowledge Assessment component of the MOC Program, the ABOS offers nine different Computer-Based Practice-Profiled Recertification Examination options, an Oral Examination, and the ABOS WLA. For detailed information on the ABOS MOC process, please review the Rules and Procedures.


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