At this year’s American College of Cardiology (ACC) annual meeting—held March 16-18, in New Orleans—ABIM and ACC launched the new Collaborative Maintenance Pathway (CMP) for certified cardiologists who wish to maintain their ABIM Board Certification via an ACCSAP-based educational curriculum and performance assessment beginning in fall 2019.
At the conference, the Chair of ABIM’s Cardiovascular Board, Dr. Olakunle Akinboboye, discussed the organizations’ collaborative efforts with ACC Past President, Dr. Richard Chazal. Listen in as Dr. Peter Block, Professor of Medicine and Cardiology at Emory University Hospital and School of Medicine, moderates the discussion about the new assessment pathway and the partnership that made it possible.
Block: I’m Peter Block, and I’m at ACC.19 in New Orleans, and one of the fascinating and important things that has come out at this meeting is the announcement about ongoing certification. This has been an issue that’s been discussed for years, and finally, we have come to some kind of a solution as to how we might go forward with this; both the ACC and the ABIM together. With me is Dr. Ola Akinboboye and Dr. Rick Chazal from the College. Ola is from ABIM. I’m going to start with Rick. Rick, tell me a little bit about the process here, because this was not easy and this is something that has taken time, but we have finally a product.
Chazal: We’re really excited, Peter. About 2013, the ABIM in an effort to try to improve Maintenance of Certification for diplomates modified the way this was being approached. Our membership identified opportunities for improvement in the way that this was going to be managed. ACC has been working with ABIM since then to look for solutions that would improve the process for our physicians and ultimately improve care for patients. What we’ve come up with is to utilize the ACCSAP product as a basis for ongoing, verifiable learning that then can be utilized with some questions that would be asked that are built in and approved by ABIM that could be utilized by our members as a substitute for the 10-year secured exam or the 2-year Knowledge Check-In if the diplomate or the member of the College wishes to go in that direction. So, we’re pretty excited about that.
Block: Let me interrupt and go to Ola. Ola, from the ABIM standpoint, this is a little bit of a switch as to how you approach this. This is really much more of a learning process rather than just a process where you have to pass a test to get your certification. Tell me how the ABIM came to this. What was the thinking was on your side?
Akinboboye: Thank you Peter. It has actually been a very interesting journey which started about four years ago when our two organizations began the process of sitting down to look at how we might be able to bring the benefits of aligning longitudinal learning with a summative assessment piece and bring all that benefit to our diplomates. What we ended up with is a process where we can have this longitudinal learning, and at the same time, incorporate this summative piece in one continuum. That makes it easier for our members to basically do what they do day in, day out, particularly with the program in ACCSAP which is very well known and very well used by our members: To use that as a mechanism to maintain their certification.
Block: Let me quickly point out, this is not something that the College is going to do as a certification process. The College is going to do the learning part. The ability to understand what the person who wants certification has learned and then you as the ABIM will say “Yes, we agree with this process,” and then you will be the certifying body.
Akinboboye: That’s absolutely correct. The formative part of this process will be with the College, while the summative assessment of the learner will be with ABIM.
Block: Sounds like a perfect marriage. Rick, let’s come back to you. Let’s get to the nuts and bolts of this. We have roughly five minutes to put it out there: What the College membership might need to think about now going forward.
Chazal: The first thing to know is the release for general cardiology will be in 2019. We’re partnering with the subspecialty societies to roll this out in other areas of intervention, heart failure and electrophysiology so that we can move forward collectively and get this done. How this will work for general cardiology is, over a 5-year period, we will cover comprehensively the field of general cardiology in 1-year segments. And one would actually complete these modules, get the learning, do some practice testing, and the summative piece that Ola was talking about would come in the form of: you’d say “ok I’m ready to take the test part of it” which is at home, on your own computer. There will be windows of time when that’s available and you take that exam. One of the neat things is that ABIM has said that, the first year, there’s a “no loss” clause. So if you didn’t get it right, it’s ok. But even beyond that, there are two chances to do this, which is pretty neat because if you got it wrong, you can go back and study, correct the deficiencies, and get it right. We’re excited about that.
Block: Yeah, that’s a learning process isn’t it? That’s really what we’re all about as a College. That’s really what ABIM is about as a certifying body. You want to certify that someone has actually learned enough so that you can say “you get the gold star on your forehead.”
Chazal: We’re really working together to ultimately improve care. That’s what its’ all about. It’s not about getting a test and passing and failing; it’s about: What is it that you don’t know? How do we correct that deficiency so you can provide that benefit to your patients?
Block: So let me go quickly to the subspecialties, because there are electrophysiologists, there are interventionalists like me, there are people who do heart failure. Where does that fit in?
Chazal: We’ve been very fortunate and hats off to Mike Valentine for working with leadership of our subspecialty partners to put together those SAP products that we intend to roll out in the next year or two to do exactly the same sort of process as doing for general cardiology.
Block: So CathSAP for, example, or interventional SAP, whatever you want to think of that, will be a way to do it without having to do many of the other things. Has that been a short circuit way to get your certification?
Chazal: Exactly correct. And ABIM has been thoughtful in working with us also in elimination of the Double Jeopardy. So for you as an IV cardiologist, you don’t need to recertify in general cardiology to be able to certify in IV, unless you choose to do so. So you can focus on CathSAP.
Akinboboye: This is more, to Rick’s point, what we’re trying to do at ABIM is respond to the feedback from the community of diplomates. People have complained about the 10-year exam, and now we are happy that ABIM is responding to this and having a great partner like ACC in this process particularly with an excellent product like ACCSAP.
Block: As somebody down in the trenches, I look up and I see it’s going to take a lot of work and it is; this is going to take a lot of effort and it is; this is going to take a lot of just sitting down and doing the work and it is, but all of this now is a great first step in moving forward and making all of this happen. So I want to thank Dr. Akinboboye and Dr. Chazal for being here. I think we’ve covered everything we need to give people the groundwork. And I really want to thank you for the information.
Chazal: Thanks to you Peter and also to you Ola. Thanks to ABIM for being good partners.
Akinboboye: Thanks Rick. Thanks to ACC for working together to bring this to fruition.
Dr. Olakunle Akinboboye—board certified in Cardiovascular Disease and Sleep Medicine—is the Medical Director of Queens Heart Institute/Laurelton Heart Specialist P.C. in Rosedale, Queens, New York. He serves as Chair of ABIM’s Cardiovascular Disease Board.
Dr. Richard Chazal is a senior cardiologist and the Medical Director of the Heart and Vascular Institute for Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, Florida. He also serves as courtesy assistant professor of medicine for the University of Florida and clinical assistant professor of medicine for Florida State University. He served as past president of the ACC.