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MedBiquitous Case Study: American Board of Surgery

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) plays a critical role in ensuring the quality of healthcare in the US: it certifies that surgeons have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge. As the ABS rolled out Maintenance of Certification (MoC,) a continuous professional development program that documents a diplomate’s commitment to lifelong learning and practice improvement, it became clear that technology was necessary to document the new MOC requirements.

Many of the activities required for MoC are activities that diplomates engage in but have not previously reported to the Board: continuing medical education (CME), self-assessment, and participation in an outcomes registry or quality assessment program. The challenges in collecting this data were many. Surgeons are notoriously busy, with limited time for documentation and other administrative activities related to MoC. Typically surgeons participate in self assessments and other forms of CME offered by a number of different accredited CME providers, often receiving only printed certificates of completion. The solution implemented had to be cost-effective for both surgeons and the ABS, and had to work across the ecosystem of CME providers serving surgeons.

The ABS implemented the MedBiquitous Activity Report standard, ANSI /MEDBIQ AR.10.1-2009, to document CME and self-assessment activities meeting the ABS’ rigorous standards for MoC. The ABS worked with the several CME providers, asking them to send data to the ABS using the standard format. The American College of Surgeons, the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), and Decker Publishing agreed to send CME data to the ABS using the Activity report standard. The standard provided a consistent format for all partners to use. Since the launch of the data collection system, over 170,000 activity reports have been sent to the ABS using the MedBiquitous Activity Report standard. Because the CME providers listed automatically send data to the ABS on the diplomate’s behalf, there are no administrative tasks for diplomates to complete to document the CME. The data is accurate and up to date. Over 6,000 diplomates per year participate in the program. Because data comes from multiple CME providers in a consistent format, the system is highly cost-effective for the ABS, saving time and money.

"We were able to support the documentation needs of our Maintenance of Certification program without increasing staffing at all," reports James Fiore, Director of Information Technology at the American Board of Surgery. "We've tripled the number of diplomates supported per year. Thanks to our standards-based system, we are able to track all of this data quickly and cost effectively."

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