ABIM Announces New MOC Assessment Option

Beginning in January 2018, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) will offer physicians a new Maintenance of Certification (MOC) assessment option. Participating physicians will be able to choose an MOC assessment format that better meets their needs.

The new assessment option will:

  • Include shorter assessments that doctors can choose to take on their personal or office computer (with appropriate identity verification and security) more frequently than every 10 years, but no more than annually
  • Provide feedback on important knowledge gap areas so physicians can better plan their learning to stay current in knowledge and practice
  • Allow physicians who engage in and perform well on these shorter assessments to test out of the current assessment taken every 10 years

Physicians who meet a performance standard on shorter assessments will not need to take the 10-year exam again to remain certified, the ABIM news release noted. Physicians with certifications that expire before the new assessment option is offered in their specialty will still need to take and pass the current exam to maintain their certification.

ABIM’s current 10-year exam will remain available as a second assessment option, and both options will reflect the input ABIM has solicited from physicians and other stakeholders and the recommendations from its Assessment 2020 Task Force.

“By offering shorter assessments that they could take at home or at the office, we hope to lower the stress and burden that many physicians have told us the current 10-year exam generates,” ABIM President and CEO Richard. J. Baron, MD, said in the news release.

There will be a public comment period about the potential changes before the new assessment option is implemented, and ABIM expects to provide more specific details about the alternative assessment option no later than December 31, 2016.

It is also important to note that this new option will initially be available only for physicians maintaining certification in internal medicine – and possibly one or two subspecialties.

“ASH is pleased that the ABIM is responding to concern about the MOC as expressed by many hematologists,” ASH President Charles S. Abrams, MD, said in a statement, adding that changes to the MOC program are long overdue. “ABIM’s decision to offer an alternative option is a step in the right direction.”

However, he added, “hematologists uniformly note that any single exam or assessment does not recognize the diversification of career paths in the subspecialty.” ASH will continue to advocate on behalf of its members for other MOC assessment changes that would encourage continued learning, such as allowing for customization of assessments to fit the needs of individual practitioners by giving options of either broad or narrow scopes of content and linking assessments to educational material already offered by specialty societies. ASH “is pleased with this new development and has already urged the ABIM to prioritize hematology in its roll-out of the new assessment option,” Dr. Abrams noted.

As we shared last week, results from an ABIM survey revealed that the majority of certified physicians want shorter, more frequent MOC exams. ABIM noted that they will continue to evaluate other MOC program changes proposed in the survey, including offering “open-book” assessments.

Source: ABIM news release, May 5, 2016.