Why It's So Important to Find a Board-Certified Doctor

Fortune (04/18/18) Hawkins, Richard E.

In a commentary, Richard E. Hawkins, president and CEO of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), highlights the importance of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) for physicians. "It is an external, objective indication to patients, their families, hospitals, health systems, insurers and other physicians that board-certified physicians are up-to-date in their area of specialty medicine," he explains. With an estimated 10,000 new studies published each month, keeping current in specialty medicine is critical. "A system of independent, objective assessment is essential to assist physicians in identifying gaps in their skills and knowledge, guide subsequent education and improvements in practice and verify that these gaps have been addressed," he adds. Studies published in peer-reviewed journals show that as a result of participating in MOC activities, physicians have, among other things, improved care of patients with hypertension; improved processes of care for diabetes and mammography screening in Medicare patients; and improved asthma action plans and asthma control tests, resulting in a decline of asthma exacerbations in children. One study also noted a 2.5 percent reduction in the total cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries treated by physicians participating in MOC. "Participation by specialty physicians in an ABMS Member Board MOC program has a positive impact on patient care, improves outcomes, and serves as an important tool for consumers, hospitals and physicians," writes Hawkins. "Their participation helps promote healthier communities, improve patient outcomes and decrease health care costs."

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