Fall 2021 Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Board Summary

Fall 2021 Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Board Summary

Ashok Balasubramanyam, MD Chair,

The Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Board met virtually on October 7, 2021 to discuss recent and upcoming changes at ABIM, as well as many other important issues facing the discipline.  Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Board members were joined by several guests:

  • American Association of Clinical Endocrinology
    • Diane Alberson, Director of Education Development
    • Elizabeth Lepkowski, Chief Learning Officer
    • Michelle McNeilly, Director of Online Learning and Technology
    • Beth Welch, Self-Assessment and Product Manager
  • The Endocrine Society
    • Robert Lash, Chief Medical Officer
    • Rodneikka Scott, Chief Membership & Diversity Programs Officer
    • Chris Urena, Chief Learning Officer
  • The Association of Program Directors in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
    • Ricardo Correa, DEI Committee Co-Chair
    • Andrew Gianoukakis, President
  • American Diabetes Association
    • Nuha Ali El Sayed, Vice President, Healthcare improvement

Below is a summary of the key takeaways from the meeting:  

Leadership Update

Richard J. Baron, MD, ABIM President and CEO, joined the Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Board to provide members with recent updates, including:

  • Reflecting on the spring 2021 Internal Medicine Summit, and how ABIM and specialty societies could collaborate to advance diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts across internal medicine.
  • Sharing reactions to a joint statement issued by ABIM, the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), and the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) cautioning physicians about disseminating misinformation on COVID-19.
  • Previewing the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKA™), slated to launch in January 2022 in 12 specialties.

Specialty Board members said they were glad to see ABIM’s joint statement on misinformation and noted reforms are possible, as we are entering a world where more people understand social media algorithms and how we can slow the spread of misinformation. The Facebook whistleblower case was being watched closely and they wondered if ABIM was working with anyone to better understand the algorithms that lead to the spread of misinformation. Dr. Baron said it wasn’t easy to reach large organizations such as Facebook and Google, but said ABIM continues to seek ways to work to minimize the spread of misinformation.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Progress Report

Pamela Browner White, Senior Vice President of Communications and Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer; Lorna Lynn, MD, Vice President for Medical Education Research and the Staff Administrator for the Board of Directors Committee on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and Weifeng Weng, PhD, Director of Research Analysis, updated the Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Board on ABIM’s progress in advancing DEI and becoming an actively anti-racist organization.

Ms. Browner White noted that she has been Chief Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Officer for a year almost to the day of the meeting, and encouraged Specialty Board members to visit the year in review post on the ABIM blog. She also reminded the Specialty Board of ABIM and ABIM Foundation’s Racial Justice statement: “It’s not simply enough to say passively we will do no harm; we pledge actively to do our part in opposing and dismantling systems and policies that cause harm to our patients and disproportionately affect those in Black and Brown communities.” She said much of the work has been guided by this statement, and updated Specialty Board members in a number of areas ABIM is making progress.

Dr. Lynn and Dr. Weng then provided an overview of race and ethnicity data for the overall internal medicine diplomate population and for endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism diplomates. Dr. Lynn noted that while the current reports rely on external data, in the future, ABIM will ask diplomates to self-identify with regards to their gender, race and ethnicity. ABIM will collaborate with society partners and others to decide on what identifiers will be used. 

Making the reasons clear as to why we will begin to the collect this information is vitally important; it’s all about assuring that our programs are fair, and that we make sure a broad range of voices are included in our discussions. Specialty Board members noted that older physicians may not understand DEI topics as well as younger ones, and learning how to reach out effectively to some of those physicians who may not have had opportunities yet to learn about DEI-related issues is vital. As ABIM continues this work it will keep the community informed on its progress. More information can be found in a special section of our blog entitled ABIM’s Commitment to Health Equity.

Practice Profiles

Rebecca Lipner, PhD, Senior Vice President, Assessment and Research and Jerome Clauser, EdD, Senior Director, Research and Innovations, discussed research into whether ABIM can refine assessments into focused areas for physicians who have a practice in which they focus on one issue far more than another. For example, if someone has a practice with a predominance of diabetes patients, can ABIM create an assessment that is more focused and contains more questions on diabetes than a general assessment, but continues to assess other areas of endocrinology?

Dr. Clauser noted that the amount of work involved in creating practice profile assessments would be very challenging in the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKATM) and it would be some time before ABIM could begin exploring the feasibility of including them.

The Specialty Board also reviewed distributions of practice from Medicare and survey data showing that there is significant misalignment between frequency in practice and prevalence on the blueprint. Several members expressed interest in revising the blueprint to better reflect practice. Staff agreed to return in a future meeting to share the results of the cluster analysis for possible practice profile blueprints before the Specialty Board advises on how to proceed.  

Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKATM) Update

Alison Carey, Senior Director of Engagement and Digital Experience, gave the Specialty Board a preview of the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKA) Platform and updated them about how ABIM has engaged physicians throughout the development process to ensure it will meet their needs and provide a good user experience. The engagement work included establishing a Physician Advisory Panel of 10 board certified physicians, who met on a monthly basis to share feedback on a variety of areas, such as the LKA assessment platform, communications materials, and other program design elements.

The Panel’s insights were enhanced through regular user-testing sessions, additional physician interviews, surveys and feedback gleaned from diplomate phone calls and emails. In addition, in August 2021, 26 physicians volunteered to serve as beta testers for the LKA platform to help identify bugs and any user experience issues; their feedback resulted in important improvements to the assessment platform prior to launch. All of this physician feedback also helped generate a comprehensive LKA Physician Journey, outlining physician opportunities and challenges.

Some of the top challenges were discussed during the meeting to help prepare members in case colleagues approach them with questions. For example, one challenge identified was that enrolling and participating at the beginning of a physician’s assessment due year is a departure from how many diplomates engage with MOC, and may not be intuitive.

To address this challenge, ABIM will communicate clearly through multiple channels, including emails, social media, its website and more to ensure physicians are informed about this new process. ABIM plans to continue engaging with the community beyond the LKA launch and make improvements based upon physician feedback. All ABIM Board Certified physicians are encouraged to join the Community Insights Network where they may receive occasional requests to share their thoughts about various ABIM programs or topics.

Enrollment for the 2022 LKA opens December 1, 2021. The first set of questions will be delivered January 4, 2022 and the quarter ends March 31, 2022, so enrolling early ensures physicians will have enough time to access and answer questions for that quarter. Learn more about the features, benefits, and other important details of LKA at abim.org/lka.

Exploring Opportunities to Enhance Trust Between ABIM and the Community

In an effort to continually improve its programs and relationships with the diplomate community, Specialty Board members engaged in an exercise aimed at identifying opportunities to enhance trust between ABIM and the physicians it serves. Insights previously gleaned through Governance member feedback have informed other important changes at ABIM, including advancing DEI initiatives, better accommodations for nursing mothers, and the LKA launching in 2022.

A number of ideas emerged during this session such as: being transparent about costs and how they are decreasing with the introduction of the LKA, finding better ways to communicate and engage with the community, including having profiles of governance on social media to highlight that they are practicing physicians and making presentations at scientific meetings. Similar sessions are being held at each ABIM Specialty Board meeting throughout the fall. The top ideas will be presented to the ABIM Council for further consideration of future implementation.

In Closing

The Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism Board values the feedback and commentary of the entire medical community, including diplomates and society partners. Do you have any questions? Are you interested in how to get involved? If you have questions after reading this report, please connect with us through the following channels:

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