What Does Board Certification Mean?
For a physician, board certification is a mark of distinction. It indicates the education that he or she has undertaken beyond the minimal standards and competency requirements in a chosen specialty. For leaders of medical institutions, board certification signifies a physician’s achievement. It testifies to the mastery that the physician has shown in his or her respective field of medicine. At the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we believe that board certification provides yet another benefit that hospitals and physician leaders would appreciate – it not only identifies the most qualified physicians, but suggests which one would be the best fit for a job opening in a particular medical specialty.
As one of the three federally recognized multi-specialty certifying bodies in the United States, the ABPS has stringent eligibility requirements that have been defined by its Member Boards. These standards differ according to the boards’ specialties, but the focus on rigorous testing and training is consistent. The ABPS emphasizes psychometrically evaluated testing and advanced training in addition to experience and moral character. Consequently, doctors who have achieved board certification through the ABPS have proven through written, and in some cases oral or hands-on simulation, a mastery of the core body of knowledge and skills in their specialties as well as a willingness to adhere to the ABPS Medical Code of Ethics. It should be noted that the ABPS is the only medical board certifying body that requires physicians to take an ethics course for recertification. As far as certifying standards are concerned, the three federally recognized multi-specialty certifying bodies – the ABPS, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) – set the most exacting standards.
In order to be recertified, physicians must show a commitment to continuing medical education as well successfully complete a recertification exam. The ABPS believes that doctors who seek out education and keep abreast of the constantly changing medical field are best suited to deliver exceptional medical care. In essence, board recertification provides medical institutions the assurance that practicing physicians have continued to display a superior level of knowledge and skills.
With board certified physicians on staff, a hospital or clinic also delivers a recognizably positive message about its credentials to patients. Patients may be feeling especially vulnerable, so trusting that they are in competent and caring hands can go a long way toward quelling their anxieties and helping them heal. Board certification through the ABPS also means that hospitals may confidently consider ABPS Diplomates to fill leadership roles, and as leaders these respected physicians will be in a position to shape the medical profession for years to come.
If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of physician board certification and why it is important to hospitals and clinics, contact the ABPS. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®