CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) announced today a contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to align the meaningful use of health information technology (HIT) and the ABMS Maintenance of Certification® (ABMS MOC®) program, which was created by ABMS and its 24 Member Boards to promote lifelong learning and self assessment for physician specialists. The contract was awarded by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for HIT.
“ONC and ABMS share a mission to improve patient care by encouraging physicians to be competent in the use of essential medical tools and technologies,” said Kevin B. Weiss, MD, ABMS president and CEO. “Aligning the MOC program and meaningful use of HIT will help facilitate physicians’ knowledge, skill and use of HIT, and in turn can lead to improved physician performance and most importantly, improving patient care.”
More than 750,000 U.S. physicians are certified by an ABMS Member Board. “The government’s goal is not just the adoption of an electronic health record (EHR) system, but the use of technology to improve health care quality for the American people,” said David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for HIT, HHS. “We want to work with physicians to explore ways in which health care IT and the MOC programs of the ABMS Member Boards can be coordinated – it’s that synergy that will make both more valuable.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and other federal programs reward physicians for “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs) and other technology to guide improvements in public health, quality and safety, engagement of patients and families, and coordination of care, while preserving privacy and security. These dimensions overlap with the six core competencies that are continually measured through the ABMS MOC program and include: professionalism, patient care and procedural skills, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communications skills, and systems-based practice.
ABMS will foster the development of new measurement tools or enhancement of existing activities to promote meaningful use of HIT, with three ABMS Member Boards – the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), and the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) – developing initial products.
These three boards have certified 369,000 practicing physicians in the United States. The first year of the ONC contract with ABMS will support:
- Developing new knowledge self-assessment modules to ensure that physicians understand the basics of how EHRs work and how they can be used to improve care. The module will address the current meaningful use requirements and the evidence and rationale supporting them; and the basics of evidence-based medicine, decision support and data acquisition, analysis and reporting.
- Augmenting the knowledge self-assessment modules described above, with the addition of simulation, to create patient scenarios that demonstrate an EHR's functionality. This includes simulating the development and use of a registry in conducting quality improvement activities that can be used across all ABMS Member Board specialties.
Certification by one of the ABMS 24 Member Boards is a voluntary process above and beyond what is required to practice medicine, but it is looked to by hospitals, insurance companies, and increasingly by patients as essential documentation of a doctor’s training, competence and commitment to lifelong learning in a specific specialty.
To keep pace with advances in the field of medicine, ABMS and its Member Boards have evolved their recertification programs to one of continuous professional development, called the ABMS MOC program. The MOC program assures that the participating physician is committed to lifelong learning and on-going self-assessment along six areas of competency. Measurement of these competencies varies across specialties but is carried out by all Member Boards using a four-part process that is designed to keep certification continuous.
For more than 75 years, American Board of Medical Specialties has been the medical organization overseeing physician certification in the United States. It assists its 24 Member Boards in their efforts to develop and implement educational and professional standards for the evaluation and certification of physician specialists. ABMS Member Boards provide physician certification information to ABMS for its certification verification service programs. ABMS is recognized by the key health care credentialing accreditation entities as a primary equivalent source of board certification data for medical specialists. Patients can visit www.abms.org or call toll-free 1-866-ASK-ABMS to see if their physician is board certified by an ABMS Member Board. For more information about ABMS visit www.abms.org or call (312) 436-2600.
The 24 Member Boards that make up the ABMS Board Enterprise covers over 145 medical specialties and subspecialties include: American Board of Allergy and Immunology, American Board of Anesthesiology, American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, American Board of Dermatology, American Board of Emergency Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Medical Genetics, American Board of Neurological Surgery, American Board of Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Board of Ophthalmology, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, American Board of Otolaryngology, American Board of Pathology, American Board of Pediatrics American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Preventive Medicine, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, American Board of Radiology, American Board of Surgery, American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and American Board of Urology.
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