ABS Research Links Initial Certification with Fewer Disciplinary Actions
A new study adds to the growing literature demonstrating the association between board certification by an ABMS Member Board and higher quality, safer care, which supports the public trust in certification by a Member Board.
In a retrospective analysis recently published in JAMA Surgery, the authors studied severe license action rates for 44,290 surgeons who attempted to become certified by the American Board of Surgery between 1976 and 2017. Results showed that the incidence of severe license actions, which was obtained from the Federation of State Medical Boards, was significantly greater for surgeons who attempted and failed to obtain certification than surgeons who were certified. The authors concluded that obtaining board certification is associated with a lower rate of receiving severe license actions from a state medical board in this study published ahead of print on March 18. Passing examinations in the certification exam process on the first attempt also was associated with lower severe license action rates. The authors noted that this study provides supporting evidence that board certification can be viewed as a marker of surgeon quality and professionalism. View the study entitled Association Between American Board of Surgery Initial Certification and Risk of Receiving Severe Disciplinary Actions Against Medical Licenses (subscription required).
In a commentary on the study, the authors note that the ability to use the board exam to detect surgeons at risk for severe disciplinary action provides an exciting potential mechanism for using targeted preventive measures that could protect the public and profession from harm. Data from prior studies have demonstrated that intervening early when unprofessional behaviors emerge can lead to improved performance. Preventive measures that may be used to optimize performance of these individuals include proctoring, additional training, coaching, 360o evaluations, wellness evaluations, and modifications to practice. View the commentary entitled Protecting Patients and Our Profession (subscription required).