American Board of Ophthalmology Votes in Support of Diplomate-Driven Program for Certification

Revised ABMS Standards Emphasize Diplomate Feedback and Experience

At the direction of the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), Chief Executive Officer George B. Bartley, M.D., recently voted in favor of the revised Standards for Continuing Certification as presented by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the umbrella organization for the nation’s 24 medical and surgical certification boards that are recognized by the American Medical Association.


While the new standards may require some certifying boards to modify policies or program offerings, the ABO’s position is that its current program for Continuing Certification meets ABMS standards and will not require significant changes to the recertification requirements for ophthalmologists.


“The ABO’s Continuing Certification program supports ophthalmologists in keeping their knowledge and skills current throughout their careers,” said Continuing Certification Committee Chair Andreas K. Lauer, M.D. “The revised ABMS standards empower certifying boards to continue designing programs in ways that meet the needs of their specialties—a stance supported by the ABO and its collaborating organizations in ophthalmology.”


“The American Academy of Ophthalmology supports the ABO’s initiatives to make Continuing Certification clinically relevant, evidence-based, flexible, and not burdensome to busy practitioners,” said AAO President Tamara R. Fountain, M.D.


The ABO’s Continuing Certification program encourages professionalism and proficiency in ophthalmic practice through a system of structured choice. The program encourages board-certified ophthalmologists to tailor their experience to the activities and topic areas that best align with their practice focus and professional goals. Diplomates engage with the program every two years by attesting to the completion of at least 50 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits. By the end of 10 years, diplomates select two quality improvement activities from a menu of options and complete at least five years of the ABO’s hybrid learning and longitudinal assessment program, Quarterly Questions®.


“Advances in medical knowledge occur at an ever-increasing pace,” said ABO Chair

David C. Herman, M.D. “Patients trust that board certification indicates their ophthalmologist is committed to lifelong learning so those advances in knowledge and skill can be brought to their care when needed.”


In collaboration with its diplomates and the members of the ophthalmic community, the

ABO will continue to refine the content selected for knowledge-based and article-based

assessment activities and improving the diplomate experience.


“Diplomates who have a positive experience with Continuing Certification can engage

with the program on a deeper level and extract more benefit for themselves and their

patients,” said ABO Vice Chair and Career-Long Competence & Professionalism

Committee Chair Jane A. Bailey, M.D. “We will continue to focus our work on making

diplomate-driven program enhancements that further ongoing learning and

improvement.”