Medical Education

ABIM Maintenance Of Certification Points

This post falls under the general category of shameless self-promotion. The American Board of Internal Medicine keeps changing the requirements for maintaining board certification. When I completed my internal medicine residency, it was easy – you took a board examination and then you were board certified for life. But after 1989, everything changed and the ABIM required re-taking a board examination every 10 years to maintain board certification. Since I first took pulmonary boards in 1990 and critical care boards in 1991, I was required to do those exams once a decade. Next came the maintenance of certification program that required us to do on-line ABIM MOC learning modules that included “open-book” exams every year plus do the 10-year formal board examination. Most recently, the ABIM has done away with their own MOC modules and now require 100 MOC points to be earned every 5 years (in addition to the every 10-year formal board examination).

This has left physicians scrambling to try to get enough MOC points by December 31st in order to maintain their board certification. Since physicians can no longer go to the ABIM’s website to get those MOC points, they must be earned through other activities, usually coupled with continuing medical education credits. Some of these are pretty easy – for example, I can generally get 18-22 MOC points by just attending the annual American College of Chest Physicians meeting. But attending the ACCP meeting costs me more than $2,000 and it seems like we inevitably come up a few MOC points short by the end of the year.

One way of finding activities that you can do to earn MOC points is by going to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s website that allows you to search for different CME activities. One of these is where the shameless self-promotion comes in:

OSU MedNet

21 years ago, I started moderating a weekly CME television program called OMEN-TV (Ohio Medical Education Network- TV). This was born out of an audio CME program called OMEN that began in 1962. The original OMEN was broadcast from an audio studio on campus at the Ohio State University and went out over a telephone speaker system to hospitals throughout the country that would be pre-mailed 35 mm slide sets. OMEN evolved into OMEN-TV in the 1980’s and was broadcast from a television studio at OSU over a satellite TV system every Friday at noon and was targeted to subscribing hospitals that used the programs as the equivalent of a grand rounds for their medical staff. In 2002, OMEN-TV evolved into a webcast and was renamed OSU MedNet in order to reflect the internet broadcast.

I’m still moderating the program and currently, we produce 40 OSU MedNet programs every year and we leave them up on the internet for 3 years with the result that we have 120 hours of medical education programming available at any given time. Anyone can view the programs for free. To get either CME credits or MOC points, physicians either have to be on the medical staff at a subscribing hospital, be on the faculty of the Ohio State University, or pay at the end to take a post-test to get their credits.

The great thing about using OSU MedNet for your MOC points is that it is simple and you can learn a lot. Here is how you do it:

  1. Go to the OSU Center for Continuing Medical Education website and open up an account. Remember, this is all free if you are at a subscribing hospital or if you are employed by Ohio State University.
  2. Log into your account and then go to the OSU MedNet website. Click on any of the 120 programs that are relevant to your practice (all programs since September 2016 are approved for MOC points).
  3. At the bottom of the webpage for that particular program, click on the “Take Pre-Test” button. This will pull up a short quiz to test your knowledge of the topic before you view the webcast.
  4. After you submit your pre-test, view the program over the internet. Each program is 55-60 minutes long (43 minute if you watch at 1.4 speed or 37 minutes if you watch at 1.6 speed). You can also listen to the programs as an audio podcast if you prefer. You can download a PDF file of the PowerPoint slides from the webcast in either 2 slides per page or 4 slides per page format to help you with your learning.
  5. After you view the program, click on the “Take Post-Test” button and you will take the same short quiz that you took for the pre-test. If you need to refer back to the materials to help with any of the questions, you can refer to the PDF files of the PowerPoint slides.
  6. Once you submit your answers to the post-test and pass the test, you will have an MOC point (and a category 1 CME credit). Your total MOC points will appear on your account. The MOC points are uploaded to the ABIM at the end of each month and you will get an email from the ABIM letting you know how many MOC points you have earned.

With my Amazon Prime account and my Netfix account, I’ve been binging on everything from “Jack Ryan” to “The Great British Baking Show”. Now you can spend your weekend binging on MOC from the comfort of your own home. You don’t need to buy airfare or a hotel room to attend a conference and at $25 per MedNet program ($800 for a 40-program season), it is less expensive than the meeting registration to attend national conferences.

The ABIM is the organization that internists used to love to hate. But you don’t have to hate any longer because with OSU MedNet, keeping up with your MOC points is easier than ever before and you can chose the particular MedNet programs you want to use based on your own unique clinical practice needs.

November 1, 2018

By James Allen, MD

I am a Professor Emeritus of Internal Medicine at the Ohio State University and former Medical Director of Ohio State University East Hospital