Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning
This component of the ABFM Family Medicine Certification process has two activity types that allow Diplomates to assess specific areas of knowledge of their own choosing. The purpose is to enhance knowledge and skills in areas that are of greatest use in each Diplomate's practice. Activities are accessed through the Physician Portfolio. Diplomates may attempt an activity as many times as necessary to achieve successful completion.
Knowledge Self-Assessment (KSA)
The Knowledge Self-Assessment is an assessment of the Diplomate's knowledge in a particular domain. Each domain consists of core competencies that the Diplomate must master. In order to successfully complete the assessment, eighty percent (80%) of the questions in each competency must be answered correctly. If the Diplomate is not successful initially, he/she moves to a review mode, in which a critique and reference for each incorrectly answered question can be reviewed before inputting new answers to the missed questions.
The Certification process includes a minimum requirement for completing the Knowledge Self-Assessment activity every stage. This is the only minimum self-assessment required activity.
Clinical Self-Assessment (CSA)
The Clinical Self-Assessment presents patient care scenarios. Simulated patients evolve in response to therapeutic interventions, investigations, and the passage of time, providing an opportunity for Diplomates to demonstrate proficiency in patient management skills.
Once a KSA or CSA is started, it must be completed within one year. If the activity is not completed in that time, the same activity may be restarted or a new activity may be selected. Currently, 10 certification points in addition to 8 CME credits are awarded for successfully completing each KSA while 5 certification points and 4 CME credits are awarded for successfully completing each CSA.
Activities may be clustered within each Stage, meaning more than one activity can be completed within a single year. As long as the required number of certification points are earned by the end of each Stage, the requirement will be met. Diplomates are not able to work ahead to the next stage for Family Medicine Certification credit, but additional activities can be taken for extra CME credit.
Diplomates can access activities through the Track Your Progress page in their Physician Portfolio.
Self-Assessment Module (SAM)
SAMs, categorized as Self-Assessment (Part II) activities, consisted of two parts: knowledge assessment and clinical simulation. In July 2016, the SAMs were separated into two individual activities: Knowledge Self-Assessment (KSA) and Clinical Self-Assessment (CSA). A SAM started prior to the activity being separated into two activities may be continued for minimum KSA requirement and 15 points toward certification. In order to receive the minimum KSA credit and the 15 points, the SAM must be completed in full including both the 60-questions and clinical simulation. There is no partial credit provided for completing just the 60 knowledge assessment questions.
Continuing Medical Education (CME)—Lifelong Learning
All Diplomates of the American Board of Family Medicine must meet the continuing medical education requirements before being allowed to take the Family Medicine Certification Examination. Formal refresher courses and seminars of high quality are preferred to fulfill any additional CME required, beyond Family Medicine Certification activities completed.
Candidates last certified 2011 and beyond will be required to submit 150 hours of acceptable CME accumulated on an ongoing basis during each 3-year stage in the continuous Family Medicine Certification process. CME credits must be submitted/verified by the 3-year stage deadlines.
Candidates last certified 2003-2010 will be required to submit 300 hours of acceptable CME accumulated during the six (6) calendar years prior to the examination year. CME credits must be submitted/verified by the published deadline for completing all application components.
Candidates last certified 2002 and prior are required to satisfy the Certification Re-Entry Process, which requires 150 hours of acceptable CME accumulated during the three (3) calendar years prior to the examination year. CME credits must be submitted/verified by the published deadline for completing all application components.
Initially certifying candidates who apply for an examination three (3) years or more after completion of residency training are required to participate in the Certification Entry Process and must submit 150 hours of acceptable CME accumulated during the three (3) calendar years prior to the examination year. CME credits must be submitted/verified by the published deadline for completing all application components.
All CME credits are subject to final approval by the American Board of Family Medicine. Candidates may verify their CME either through membership in the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) or by manual entry of CME activities on the ABFM website.
ABFM CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION (CME) REQUIREMENTS*
DIVISION I—A minimum of 50% of the total required CME must be met by the following types of CME experiences. Items E and F pertain only to residents in formal training.
A. Scientific sessions provided by medical schools approved by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education.
B. CME conferences or workshops carrying AMA Category I CME™ or AAFP prescribed CME credit.
C. Multimedia or home study correspondence courses with examinations that qualify for AMA Category I CME™ or AAFP prescribed CME credit upon completion.
D. Scientific portions of hospital meetings, county medical society meetings, or grand rounds may be approved with documentation from the sponsoring organization listing the specific title, date, location, and number of credits.
E. Full-time activity (as a resident) in an accredited Family Medicine residency, a mini residency, or a fellowship in Family Medicine may receive a maximum of 10 credits per week toward the CME requirement.
F. Full-time activity (as a resident) in an accredited residency or fellowship in a discipline other than Family Medicine may receive up to 15 CME credits per quarter, not to exceed 50 credits per year, to a maximum of 150 credits.
G. Other CME activities carrying AMA Category I CME™ or AAFP prescribed CME credit, such as documented point of care learning, participation in quality improvement projects, etc.
H. An educational program of a university or college having a defined curriculum, designated faculty, and accreditation from a recognized institutional accrediting organization1 or an agency2 recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, that is designed to enhance a participant's instructional, research, administrative, or clinical knowledge and skills necessary for the participant to succeed as an educator, administrator, or practitioner in Family Medicine. Fifty (50) CME credits per year to a maximum of 90 credits on an hour for hour contact basis may be received.
I. Full or part-time faculty development fellowships offered by ACGME-accredited residency programs leading to a post-graduate degree or certificate that prepares physicians for future faculty positions in academic medicine, or provides continuing professional development for current faculty, may receive CME credit on an hour for hour contact basis to a maximum of 90 credits.
J. Members of a self-assessment activity Knowledge Development Team for Family Medicine Certification may receive AMA Category I CME™ or AAFP prescribed CME credit as approved by the respective organizations.
DIVISION II—A maximum of 50% of the total required CME may be composed of the following four areas.
A. Teaching medical students and/or physicians.
B. Individual medically-related educational activities not formally accredited may be claimed as follows:
- use of audiotapes, videotapes, films, sound slides, etc.
- participation in telephone, television, radio networks
- programmed medical materials such as teaching machines, computer programs
- medical reading and journal club participation
C. Review of manuscripts for publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal may be claimed.
D. Publication of a review or research article in a peer-reviewed medical journal may receive 10 credits per article.
¹e.g. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools;
²e.g. Council on Education for Public Health [CEPH]