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