Continuing Certification

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    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.

    Continuous Knowledge Self-Assessment (CKSA)

    The CKSA can help you continuously identify your personal strengths and weaknesses in medical knowledge and clinical decision-making within the framework of broad-spectrum family medicine. This is accomplished by completing 25 questions per quarter, delivered through your Physician Portfolio. Completing these can be done throughout the quarter in a manner that best suits your needs and schedule, whenever and wherever it is convenient for you.

    There is no passing or failing for this activity. After each question you will be given the correct answer, a critique that explains why other options were incorrect, a set of references and the option to comment on the question. This information allows you to focus subsequent CME in those areas.

    CKSA questions are similar in format to those seen on the certification examination. Once you have completed 100 questions over four quarters, you will receive a performance report that will estimate your probability of passing the certification examination, along with your likely score.

    After successful completion of each quarter, you will earn 2.5 certification points and 2.5 CME credits. If you participate in four quarters of CKSA you will earn 10 certification points, satisfying your minimum KSA requirement for that stage.

    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.

    Lifelong Learning

    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. CME reported through the AAFP must fall within the start/end dates of your current ABFM requirement timeframe in order to be applied. As start/end dates for CME reporting periods may vary between the ABFM and AAFP, current compliance with one organization does not guarantee compliance with the other.

    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:

    1. use of audiotapes, videotapes, films, sound slides, etc.
    2. participation in telephone, television, radio networks
    3. programmed medical materials such as teaching machines, computer programs
    4. 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]

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