ABMS to Develop Physician Assessments Related to Health Information Technology as Part of its ABMS Maintenance of Certification® Program

Chicago, August 5, 2010—The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) intends to create tools to promote the meaningful use of health information technology (HIT) and incorporate them into ABMS Maintenance of Certification® (ABMS MOC®), a program created by ABMS and its 24 Member Boards to promote lifelong learning and self assessment for physician specialists.

“Over 750,000 U.S. physicians are certified by an ABMS Member Board, so it’s readily apparent that building meaningful use of HIT into MOC will benefit patients,” said Kevin B. Weiss, MD, ABMS president and CEO. “Aligning MOC and meaningful use of HIT will help to facilitate physicians’ knowledge, skill and use of HIT, and in turn can improve physician performance and patient outcomes.”

Under a new Federal program, physicians will be rewarded 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 ABMS MOC: patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal and communications skills, professionalism, 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 the three ABMS primary care 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.  Examples of such efforts might include:
· Developing two new knowledge self-assessment modules to evaluate:
1) A physician’s knowledge of HIT for incorporating evidence-based medicine into their practice, decision support and data acquisition, and analysis and reporting related to correct use of the HIT. 2) A physician’s knowledge of the uses of HIT to promote patient safety such as computerized physician order entry, medication reconciliation, e-prescribing and coordination of care.
· Augmenting the knowledge self-assessment modules described above with the addition of simulation, creating patient scenarios that demonstrate EHR functionality, including the development and use of a registry for quality improvement that will provide “hands-on” experience for physicians in gaining the skills they need to apply HIT effectively in quality improvement efforts.
· Developing data interchange utilities to enable physician submission of Physician Reporting Quality Initiative (PQRI) and HIT meaningful use measures to the Boards in the same format used by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). This will enable certified physicians to satisfy both PQRI and MOC requirements, and qualify for the PQRI bonus and potentially meaningful use bonus without redundant data submissions.
· Expanding and enhancing practice improvement modules (PIMs), which are Web-based self-evaluation tools that guide physicians through collecting data from their own practice using medical chart reviews, patient surveys and a practice system survey to create a comprehensive assessment of current practice performance in a specific clinical area.  Select PIMs will be enhanced to enable physicians to use EHRs to track their practice data and improve care.

Certification by one of 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 ABMS MOC.  ABMS MOC 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.

About ABMS
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.