Board becomes first to scrap 10-year MOC exam

The American Board of Anesthesiology will soon update the way it requires physicians to maintain and prove their skills, possibly signaling that other professional groups will follow suit, the Washington Post reported.

The change is intended to make maintenance of voluntary board certification more convenient and effective for anesthesiologists, who previously took an exam every 10 years. Beginning next year, physicians will instead be able to review educational material and take quizzes at their leisure online, with a requirement that they complete 30 quizzes per quarter. The passing score for the Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology (MOCA) 2.0 Program has yet to be determined, according to the article, but the 10-year expense will stay the same as with test, at $2,100.

"We are committed to creating a maintenance of certification program that is relevant to everyday practice and will help board-certified anesthesiologists enhance their knowledge so that throughout their careers they continue to deliver high-quality patient care," James P. Rathmell, M.D., secretary for the board, said in an announcement. "We want physicians engaged in learning every day they are in practice. We've worked with our physicians to create a top-notch program that will help anesthesiologists improve clinical outcomes and patient safety."

Pilot testing on the 2.0 program hasn't proven that the change will result in better patient care, Rathmell told the Post, but physician response so far has been positive.

"It's extremely convenient," Salomon Imiak, M.D., an anesthesiologist and national medical director for Sheridan Healthcare in Sunrise, Florida, told the newspaper. "It's less expensive [annually], it's less stressful and it allows us to identify areas of lack of knowledge that we should improve." 

Boards that govern certification for pediatricians and internal medicine physicians have also expressed interest in alternatives to their current MOC processes, according to the article.

To learn more:
- read the article
- see the announcement