Doctors offer their ideas for changing the Maintenance of Certification process

Medical education
Doctors offered their ideas about how to improve the Maintenance of Certification process, such as regular continuing education and an open-book exam that is offered online.

Physicians understand that they need to keep their knowledge and skills up to date, but many are frustrated with the current Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process.

Doctors have ideas for the process that allows them to maintain their board certification to could be less restrictive, according to Medical Economics, which spoke to a number of physicians around the country.

The physicians said it’s not necessary for them to sit and take a proctored exam every 10 years to demonstrate their medical proficiency. Some, such as Alan Aboaf, M.D., who practices general internal medicine in Centennial, Colorado, say it would be sufficient to require doctors to participate in regular continuing medical education in the discipline in which they practice.

Others think doctors should be able to take an open-book exam that is offered online. “After all, medical practice is open book. If a patient is in the exam room with me and I don’t know the answer to something I’m going to start looking at all the available resources,” Mike Tracy, M.D., who practices internal medicine and pediatrics in Powell, Wyoming, told the publication.

RELATED: Doctors unified in their fight over Maintenance of Certification

The American Board of Internal Medicine, which came under criticism for its MOC requirements, will offer a new testing option starting in 2018 that will consist of shorter, open-book tests that don’t require doctors to travel to a secure testing location.

However, rather than sitting for an exam, doctors can show they provide quality care based on the outcomes of their patients, said Maria Chandler, M.D., of Long Beach, California.

A survey of 4,600 physicians last year found that 81% report that MOC activities are a burden, regardless of specialty, practice size, geographic area, years in practice and level of burnout.