A recent American Academy of Ophthalmology Advisory Recommendation requested that the American Board of Ophthalmology modify its public reporting to include the dates of initial ABO certification in addition to whether a diplomate is participating in Maintenance of Certification. Actually, the ABO has been reporting such information for several years with the goal of helping patients make informed decisions when choosing a doctor.
Reporting Certification Status: How it Works Today
Presently, ophthalmologists who achieve board certification are listed as “Certified” on the ABO website, along with the dates of initial certification and the dates of subsequent recertification(s).
Diplomates whose certificates have lapsed as a result of state medical licensing action or non-participation in Maintenance of Certification are listed as “not certified.” If someone is no longer certified, their ABO certification history is still publicly reported.
Those who have retired from the active practice of ophthalmology have the option to “retire” their board certification in good standing, while those who are no longer involved in the clinical practice of ophthalmology may make a notation on their record to reflect their status as “clinically inactive.”
At your discretion, you have the option of sharing more information with the public. The ABO website allows diplomates to create an expanded profile that includes a photograph, training and education information, as well as website and practice address, and to download a digital web badge for your own website that links back to your certification information.
Diplomates of the American Board of Ophthalmology are also listed in The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, published by Marquis Who's Who. This is the authorized publication of the 24 ABMS Boards that certify physicians in medical and surgical specialties.
While there is a lot the ABO does with the aim of improving the quality of ophthalmic care, the ABO does not do the following: provide medical advice to patients; recommend one ophthalmologist over another; set requirements for membership to hospital staffs; or define the scope of ophthalmic practice. The certificate of the ABO does not confer any academic degree, legal qualifications, privilege, or license to practice ophthalmology. It represents the voluntary achievement of higher standards in the specialty.
Reporting Certification Status: The Next Steps
The ABO is working behind the scenes to shift its public search tool to an achievement-based reporting system in which a diplomate’s career-long demonstrations of competence and professionalism are recognized.
Diplomates will have the option to choose how much (or how little) information they would like to publicly display. In conjunction with these efforts, the ABO is investigating search engine optimization programs that will increase the visibility of the ABO website (and its diplomates) to patients in online searches.
While these initiatives are in progress, the ABO encourages diplomates to write to us or call the Board Office at 610-664-1175 with suggestions for enhancing the public verification tool.