Innovative Board Certifications for Family Physicians
Founded in 1952, the American Board of Physician Specialties® is unique among certifying bodies in that it certifies both allopathic and osteopathic physicians. This spirit of inclusion filled a void at a time when certifying organizations discriminated on the basis of training. Today, the ABPS proudly maintains a non-discriminatory approach and the sense that it’s a community of diverse but like-minded professionals.
Many doctors certified through the ABPS hold dual certifications. The most familiar of the Member Boards of the ABPS is the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM), which, unlike the American Board of Emergency Medicine, does not require its Diplomates to complete an emergency medicine residency training program. “We offer a way for primary care residency-trained physicians with substantial emergency department experience to get certified in emergency medicine,” says Jeff Morris, CEO of the ABPS. Considering that more than 40 percent of physicians practicing emergency medicine today are not EM residency trained, certification through the BCEM ensures a stronger and more qualified EM force, adds Morris.
With an emphasis on innovation, the ABPS assesses the needs in the medical field in order to create groundbreaking boards. For example, through its Board of Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics, the ABPS has helped support the need in rural areas for obstetricians by giving family medicine doctors a way to demonstrate, through rigorous oral and written exams, the knowledge they gained in surgical obstetrics training. Likewise, Member Boards such as the American Board of Disaster Medicine (ABODM), the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM), and the American Board of Administrative Medicine (ABAM) were created to provide opportunities for physicians to display mastery in vital and fast-growing specialties.
Creating a new ABPS board usually takes about two years. “It’s like developing a new product,” Morris says. “You have to do market analysis, market valuation.” If it’s shown that the new board would contribute to improved patient care, then the difficult and detailed process of developing board certification exam questions begins. The founding board, which consists of physicians who are leaders in that board’s specialty, must adhere to specific industry standards to ensure that each question is a valid and reliable measure of competency.
Certification with any ABPS Member Board lasts for eight years. Although the ABPS has no Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process, physicians are required to take ethics training and sit for a recertification exam every eight years. “The idea of having just a CME requirement is great for your medical license, but we are a board certifying body, we have to certify to the public that physicians have successfully demonstrated their knowledge,” says Morris.
Contact the ABPS today to learn more about our Member Boards and our dedication to identifying professionals supremely qualified to meet the evolving healthcare needs of the public.