American Board of Family Medicine: Improving Performance Improvement
In an ongoing effort to improve value in certification activities, the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is revising its Performance Improvement (PI) activities, as defined in its Strategic Plan 2019–2025. ABFM believes there is a consistent and compelling need for improving health and health care, and participation in performance improvement activities demonstrates that board-certified family physicians know how to examine their practice, identify an area in which care delivery or outcomes could be improved, implement a process change, and then assess whether that change resulted in an improvement.
Revisions to the PI activities reflect priorities to broaden the options to increase relevance to family physicians in a variety of practice settings, as well as to reduce burden through mechanisms that allow for reporting on performance improvement efforts already occurring in practice. ABFM’s Self-Directed Activity enables a simple submission process for physicians to report on those activities to meet their requirement, and also allows for physician choice in selecting an improvement effort that is most relevant to their practice, regardless of type or scope. Similarly, ABFM has an Organizational PI Activity option that is well suited to large practice groups, ACOs, clinically integrated networks, and other organizationally-sponsored quality improvement initiatives to report for all participating physicians working on collective improvement efforts with a simple attestation process.
Additionally, based on Diplomate feedback, ABFM added 15 new activities to better fit the varied scope of practicing family physicians, including Emergency Department/Urgent Care; Efficiency and Cost Reduction; Hospice and Palliative Medicine; Sports Medicine; and more. A new feature in ABFM’s Physician Portfolio, the PI Locator, provides physicians with a list of the most relevant activities based on their self-identified needs and personal preferences. A revamped platform has also been implemented which provides a much better user experience for those selecting ABFM-developed modules.
Finally, in response to critical and emerging events in our world: the COVID-19 pandemic and the events in Minneapolis following the murder of George Floyd, ABFM created two new activity options: a COVID-19 PI Activity modeled on the Self-Directed platform, and a Health Equity PI Activity, which provides an opportunity for physicians to address changes directed at reducing health disparities and addressing social determinants of health in their practices or communities. Over 2,500 physicians completed the COVID-19 PI activity over a 3-month period, which now also carries CME credit with completion. Information about these new activities is available here.
Two additional, related areas of focus in ABFM’s Strategic Plan include promoting education about quality/performance improvement and changing the ways in which family medicine practice is measured. ABFM has begun to identify, test, and disseminate new quality measures that capture the core functions of primary care that drive population health: continuity, comprehensiveness, patient reported outcomes, and value of care.
ABFM will continue to gather Diplomate feedback and seek input from the broader community as we work to improve the outcomes of our care.
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