A path­way to health­care qual­ity lies in physi­cians’ mo­ti­va­tion for im­prove­ment and pro­fes­sional growth.

Modern Healthcare - - OPINIONS COMMENTARY -

skills; med­i­cal knowl­edge; prac­tice-based learn­ing and im­prove­ment; in­ter­per­sonal and com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills; and sys­tems-based prac­tice. Physi­cians con­tin­u­ally re­fresh and ex­pand their knowl­edge in these com­pe­ten­cies through a four-part process: li­cen­sure and pro­fes­sional stand­ing; life­long learn­ing and self-as­sess­ment; cog­ni­tive ex­per­tise; and prac­tice per­for­mance as­sess­ment. De­pend­ing on the spe­cialty, a com­bi­na­tion of tools are used to mea­sure life­long learn­ing and self-as­sess­ment and prac­tice per­for­mance as­sess­ment, such as pa­tient and peer sur­veys, self-as­sess­ment tests, pa­tient chart re­views, out­comes com­par­isons, ex­ams and treat­ment sce­nario sim­u­la­tions, among oth­ers.

Although im­ple­men­ta­tion of the main­te­nance pro­gram is rel­a­tively re­cent, early re­search by ABMS mem­ber boards is demon­strat­ing its value. For in­stance, a study in the Ar­chives of In­ter­nal Medicine con­cluded that physi­cian cog­ni­tive skills, as mea­sured by an Amer­i­can Board of In­ter­nal Medicine main­te­nance exam, are as­so­ci­ated with higher rates of qual­ity of care for Medi­care pa­tients.

Re­cently, an­other study, pub­lished in Cir­cu­la­tion, demon­strated ev­i­dence that more in­ten­sive ed­u­ca­tional ef­forts could help to im­prove the qual­ity of care physi­cians de­liver to pa­tients with di­a­betes. The ABMS is com­mit­ted to con­tin­u­ing to build a body of ev­i­dence to as­sess, im­prove and demon­strate the value of the cer-

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