Majority of doctors say MOC requirements don't add clinical value, survey finds

Doctors with a tablet
More than half of doctors say they want to see MOC requirements revoked. (Getty/Motortion)

The maintenance of certification (MOC) process adds no clinical value to the practice of medicine, according to 65% of physicians in a recent survey.

A survey of 515 U.S. physicians by MDLinx found that almost 55% of respondents want to see those controversial MOC requirements revoked, while 48.5% said they would prefer more continuing medical education hours replace the current MOC recertification process.

Additionally, 26.8% said they want to see MOC made more affordable.

RELATED: Survey—Vast majority of doctors say MOC is a burden

Among physicians surveyed, which included both primary care physicians and specialists, 73% reported taking some form of MOC exam—either the traditional 10-year exam to recertify or a newer two-year “knowledge check-in” option. Only 10% of survey respondents said they have let their MOC expire.

Comments were split between a minority who think the process is useful in verifying doctors stay current in their practice of medicine and others who say MOC is an expensive, time-consuming drain.

“Unlike a lot of docs, I think the MOC is a good idea since it basically makes us keep our clinical knowledge current,” wrote one doctor who responded to the survey.

“MOC is just another burden oppressing physicians in the current climate of burnout and negativity,” said another. “It doesn’t improve patient care because it cannot be tailored to your own practice…I will probably retire early because of this.”

There’s a growing state-by-state effort to pass laws that do not allow penalties against doctors who have decided not to participate in MOC recertification. As of May, seven states require that insurance companies, licensing boards, hospitals or healthcare systems not penalize physicians who do not take an MOC exam.

RELATED: Doctors unified in their fight over Maintenance of Certification

But that’s also created confusion for some, as 56% of survey participants reported being uninformed about current MOC requirements in their state of practice.

While 23% of survey respondents practice in a state those does not require MOC, only 70% of them are aware of that fact.

In response to the pushback from physicians to MOC requirements, certifying boards are making changes. For instance, American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) President and CEO Richard Baron, M.D., recently told Fierce Healthcare that new options are being piloted, including the ability to take the exam online as well as allowing doctors to use clinical references to answer questions as they do in practice.

The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) announced last week that it has created an alternative option to the 10-year exam starting in 2019. The ABFM will being pilot-testing the option, which will allow physicians to answer 25 online questions each quarter.

Doctors would be able to take the test at a time and place of their choosing and also be able to refer back to clinical references during the exam.