ASH is dedicated to keeping members informed and up to date on the latest and most important clinical information. With this aim in mind, in early June, the American Society of Hematology Self-Assessment Program (ASH-SAP), Fifth Edition was released, and the ASH Academy, an eLearning website for hematologists, was launched. These new offerings come at a particularly opportune time as the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced that changes in recertification will become effective in January 2014 (read the ABIM section below). In fact, the decision to develop this new website was driven in part by these anticipated changes to ABIM’s process of Maintenance of Certification (MOC), which will affect not only hematologists certified by ABIM but pediatric hematologists and hematopathologists as well. The concept of the ASH Academy is to house most of ASH’s “credit earning” activities on one website, allowing for improved user service and accessibility. The new, fifth edition of ASH-SAP is currently available through the Academy, and beginning this summer, new products such as practice-improvement modules (PIMs) will be added to the Academy inventory.
As a reminder, ASH-SAP, which is updated every three years, is a comprehensive educational resource containing information about the latest developments in hematology. From the ASH Academy site, users can access the online textbook, download the eBook version, earn continuing medical education (CME) credit by passing the ASH-SAP exam, and, for an additional fee, access an ABIM-approved MOC module. Users can claim up to 50 CME credits by taking an online examination that tests their knowledge of the material contained in ASH-SAP, Fifth Edition, and completion of the MOC module allows participants to earn 20 ABIM MOC points. Once users have submitted their responses for credit, answers can be cleared so that the exams questions can be used for study purposes. This reuse feature is an ASH Academy innovation. The ASH-SAP, Fifth Edition, is also available in textbook form and contains a question-and-answer book that includes a self-assessment test with accompanying answers and annotations. Up to 50 American Medical Association (AMA) Physician’s Recognition Award (PRA) Category 1 Credits™ can be earned by completing the test material.
The newly released fifth edition of ASH-SAP has a number of enhancements, including the following:
- Three new chapters: “Consultative Hematology II: Women’s Health Issues” (Chapter 3); “Clinical Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplantation” (Chapter 14); “Hodgkin Lymphoma”(Chapter 20)
- A comprehensive review of both malignant and non-malignant hematology
- eBook access for the textbook
- An exam that can yield up to 50 CME credits based on response to 232 new questions hosted on the ASH Academy platform
- Peer comparisons on first responses to questions as well as critiques of right and wrong answers with supporting references
- Participants can sign on using their existing ASH password
- An MOC module that can yield up to 20 ABIM credits based on response to 60 new questions hosted on the ASH Academy website
- Real-time reporting to ABIM of MOC module test results for fast crediting of MOC points
The new ASH Academy has been designed to provide hematologists with easy-to-use options for knowledge testing (for both MOC and CME purposes), for completing PIMs, and for evaluating and claiming CME credit for ASH meetings attended. The ASH Academy will also provide hematologists with accessible and clinically relevant options for MOC Part II (self-evaluation of medical knowledge) and Part IV (self-evaluation of practice performance).
What are the changes that ABIM is making?
The changes that will take effect in 2014 include a more continuous ABIM MOC program. ABIM has created a mini site to alert physicians about impending changes in certification, recertification, and MOC requirements in advance of their implementation. ABIM will be rolling out a new, personalized Physician Portal on ABIM.org that will inform individuals about what to do and when. It will provide information on specific deadlines, make recommendations on products relevant to a particular specialty, and outline a step-by-step sequence for completing certification requirements.
ABIM will honor time remaining on all certifications. Clinicians will continue to be certified for the length of their current certification(s), assuming that they hold a current and valid license. For those who hold certifications that are valid indefinitely, that certification will continue to be honored.
For all ABIM-certified physicians, ABIM and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) will begin reporting whether practitioners are “Meeting MOC Requirements” (i.e., completing an MOC activity every two years and earning 100 points every five years). An individual will be deemed as meeting MOC requirements at the launch of the program, assuming he/she is enrolled in the MOC program and has both a license in good standing and a currently valid certification. In order to be reported as meeting MOC requirements, clinicians are required both to complete an MOC activity at least every two years and to earn 100 ABIM MOC points every five years with the points earned every two years being counted toward the five-year requirement.
The exam requirement has not changed. Every 10 years practitioners will need to pass the exam(s) specific for each subspecialty for which certification is sought. MOC points are awarded for first exam attempt in each certification area.
The points earned apply to all certifications that are being maintained. MOC points can be earned by completing ABIM-approved MOC products, such as the ASH-SAP MOC Module, or by using MOC products developed directly by ABIM.
Why is ABIM changing its program?
MOC tenants continue to evolve. ABIM and ABMS, of which ABIM is a member, believe that a more continuous MOC program helps physicians keep abreast of both new developments in medical science and improvements in delivery of patient care. The Institute of Medicine has argued that in a profession with a “continually expanding knowledge base” a mechanism is needed to ensure that practitioners remain up-to-date with current best practices. This growing knowledge base requires that training and ongoing licensure and certification reflect the need for lifelong learning and evaluation of competency. Get more information at http://moc2014.abim.org.
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