During our fall meeting, ABIM’s announcement regarding the development of a longitudinal assessment option for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) was a primary focus. We also touched on a number of other key issues for ABIM and the cardiovascular community, and received important updates from ABIM leadership. The following is a report on the highlights of our meeting.
New Members of the Specialty Board
We were pleased to welcome four new members to their first Cardiovascular Board meeting:
- Suzanne A. Feigofsky, MD, is an electrophysiologist at the Iowa Heart Center in Carroll, Iowa.
- John M. Herre, MD, is co-founder of the Sentara Cardiovascular Research Institute in 2006 and continues to serve as its Scientific Director.
- Rowlens M. Melduni, MD, is Associate Professor of Medicine and faculty in the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, Rochester, MN.
- Andrea M. Russo, MD, is Professor of Medicine at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Director of Electrophysiology and Arrhythmia Services, Director of Cardiovascular Research and Director of the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship Program at Cooper University Hospital in Camden, N.J.
Learn more about each of these members by visiting the Cardiovascular Board webpage.
About the Longitudinal Assessment Option
Richard J. Baron, MD, ABIM President and CEO, addressed the Specialty Board and provided an update on the announcement of the longitudinal assessment option, and reactions of society partners and diplomates. He also described ongoing planning activities related to the development of the new pathway and efforts to gain input from the many stakeholders in the physician community.
Additional information on the development of the longitudinal assessment option and a timeline for its development will be provided at a later date. You are invited to share comments and suggestions here.
Following Dr. Baron’s update and presentations from other ABIM staff on the proposed longitudinal assessment option, the Cardiovascular Board shared their thoughts on the new pathway, and how it would work for cardiologists.
- The Cardiovascular Board was interested to know what might be learned from other certifying Boards who have implemented longitudinal assessment.
- Members are anxious to hear further details about how the longitudinal assessment will fit into the overarching ABIM MOC program once that information is available.
Collaborative Maintenance Pathway Update
ABIM’s Director of Strategic Alliances, Helene M. Brooks, provided an update on ABIM’s partnership with the American College of Cardiology (ACC) to implement the Collaborative Maintenance Pathway (CMP). This new option for maintaining certification integrates assessment with lifelong learning through ACC’s Adult Clinical Cardiology Self-Assessment Program (ACCSAP). Board Certified cardiologists can utilize the ACCSAP educational materials plus the newly created performance assessment to meet their ABIM MOC assessment requirement while also earning MOC points. This MOC pathway also fosters education by helping physicians identify knowledge gaps, reinforce existing knowledge, and learn new information.
Following the joint announcement of the CMP in Cardiovascular Disease in March 2019, both organizations have been working to operationalize the requirements to make the pathway possible. Over the summer, CMP pilot studies occurred for the purpose of standard setting and to statistically screen questions to ensure their validity and reliability. In October the enrollment and eligibility functionality launched with the two performance assessment windows that are scheduled for November and December.
Julia H. Indik, MD, Ph.D., ACC’s CMP SAP Performance Question Editor-in-Chief, is overseeing the writing of the CMP performance questions and she shared her thoughts on the question writing process and the benefit of integrating learning into the assessment component. The group then discussed how physicians could monitor and improve their performance over time in more of a step-wise fashion.
While the CMP has rolled out for cardiovascular disease in 2019, three additional sub-specialties (Interventional Cardiology, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology and Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology) will become available in 2020 in continued partnership with ACC as well as the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions, the Heart Rhythm Society and the Heart Failure Society of America respectively.
Standard Setting for the CMP
The process of determining the “passing score” of an assessment is known as standard setting. Bradley Brossman, Ph.D., ABIM’s Vice President of Psychometrics, began the session by providing members with an overview of ABIM’s standard setting process and the data for Cardiovascular Board review. The Specialty Board then approved the performance standard for the arrhythmias module of the CMP, which was set based on the pilot that occurred in 2019 and the subsequent standard setting sessions. This decision was then provided to ACC with regard to the CMP performance assessment because Dr. Indik was not in the room during this part of the meeting.
The Cardiovascular Board discussed procedural competencies internal medicine residents should have an opportunity to perform before they transition successfully to a cardiovascular disease fellowship, i.e. pre-fellowship procedures. The concept of “pre-fellowship procedures” came out of the Internal Medicine Board’s decision that all residents must do some procedures, but not all residents must learn the same procedures and Program Directors must make opportunities available to become competent in practice-specific procedures needed for their next level of training.
Exam Committee Update
As part of ABIM’s organization-wide effort to enhance the connection between Exam Committees and their corresponding Specialty Boards, two Exam Committee Chairs joined the meeting as guests:
- Mario J. Garcia, MD of the Cardiovascular Board Cardiovascular Disease Exam Committee
- Dominick J. Angiolillo, MD, Ph.D., of the Cardiovascular Board Interventional Cardiology Exam Committee
The Chairs briefed the group on how the Exam Committees’ work is evolving to meet the demand for more questions for ABIM assessments while maintaining the same quality and rigor. This entails collaborating with ABIM Item-Writing Task Forces whose work contributes to developing content by utilizing an innovative, model-based approach. The Task Forces’ question development techniques involve establishing a set of specifications for creating exam questions for a given content area. These specifications are then used to produce many high-quality questions in a given subject area.
Blueprint revisions approved
In order to ensure the relevance of initial certification assessment and MOC assessments to what physicians encounter in practice, the exam blueprints are periodically reviewed by each Exam Committee and then revisions are submitted to the discipline’s Specialty Board for approval. During the meeting, changes to the Cardiovascular Disease MOC Exam Blueprint and the Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology blueprint were presented to members and were subsequently approved. The revised blueprints will be available on the ABIM website in January 2020.
Diplomate Professional Profiles
The Diplomate Professional Profile is currently being updated to include specialty-specific questions. Once it is finalized, diplomates will be asked to complete a periodic survey about the characteristics of their professional activity so that ABIM can assure relevancy of our programs and assessments based on what physicians see in practice. Members reviewed the questions that all diplomates answer on the survey, regardless of specialty. In addition, they reviewed and offered refinements to the cardiovascular-specific questions that all diplomates maintaining certification in cardiovascular disease will be asked.
Recruitment for Cardiovascular Governance Openings
ABIM governance provides meaningful and rewarding opportunities to join outstanding professional colleagues in service to our patients. ABIM is always looking to welcome new members to our various governance bodies and broaden representation of the diverse physician community. There are a number of openings in the cardiovascular specialty and subspecialties. Learn more about open governance roles.
We hope you will share this information with a colleague who may have an interest in professional development and standard setting and would like to apply to be appointed to an ABIM Specialty Board, Exam Committee or Item-Writing Task Force. ABIM strongly encourages candidates from groups under-represented in medicine, as well as physicians who practice in smaller communities or safety-net institutions.
The Cardiovascular Board welcomes feedback and commentary from diplomates, society partners and the greater medical community. We hope you find this report to be valuable and informative.
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