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    Performance Improvement

    This component of the ABFM Family Medicine Certification process allows Diplomates to assess their competence in systematic measurement and improvement. The purpose of this component is to help physicians identify an area for improvement in their practice or system, implement a change to address that improvement opportunity, and measure the impact of that change. All activities are accessible through the Physician Portfolio.

    The ABFM offers a wide range of performance improvement (PI) projects such as:

    • Collaborative Projects: Structured projects that involve physician teams collaborating across practice sites and/or institutions to implement strategies designed to improve care.
    • Projects Initiated in the Workplace: These projects are based on identified gaps in quality in a local or small group setting.
    • Web-Based Activities: Self-paced activities that physicians complete within their practice setting. These activities are ideal for physicians, who do not have access to other improvement initiatives.
    If you represent an organization that develops and/or oversees PI projects, learn more about the ABFM Organizational PI Project pathway.

    Performance Improvement Activity (PIA)

    ABFM-developed performance improvement activities (PIA) are web-based improvement modules that range across a variety of health topics. These modules allow physicians to assess their care using evidence-based measures and compare pre-and post-intervention (change) performance. Currently, twenty CME credits are awarded for successful completion.

    The Certification process includes a minimum requirement of completing 1 PI activity every stage that may be met by completing an ABFM-developed PIA or by completing an approved alternative PI activity.

    Approved Recognitions for Performance Improvement Credit

    Alternatives to the ABFM-developed PIA include:

    Family physicians who have been involved in the performance improvement work that was undertaken to earn an individual or organizational recognition from either of these groups may submit their recognition certification for PI credit through the Physician Portfolio.

    Approved Alternative Performance Improvement Activities
    The ABFM approves numerous PI activities developed by external providers. These activities may be web-based or may exist within the physician’s workplace. For a current list of approved activities, consult your Physician Portfolio.

    ABMS Portfolio Program
    The ABFM participates in the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)Portfolio Program. This program sets standards for identifying, creating opportunities for, and evaluating meaningful participation in organizational quality, safety, improvement, and continuous professional development activities.

    Portfolio Program Sponsors develop and offer initiatives that align with organizational improvement priorities such as improved communication, efficiency, and patient safety. Initiatives could address community health concerns, ranging from cancer screenings and cardiovascular disease prevention to improvement immunization programs and transitions of care. Portfolio Program Sponsors include leading hospitals, health systems, professional societies, and community health care organizations from across the country.

    Find out if your organization is participating here.

    Precepting Performance Improvement Program (Precepting Program)
    The Precepting Program allows academic units (Sponsors) to develop and oversee the completion of PI projects by teaching physicians that meet the program’s participation requirements. Approved Sponsors will not be required to submit an application for ABFM review when developing and overseeing PI projects for teaching physicians.

    Find out if your organization is participating here.

    (Note: This program is currently operating as a pilot through the first quarter of 2019 with limited academic units participating.)  

    Residency Performance Improvement Program (ResPIP)
    ResPIP is a pathway for residency programs to demonstrate their ability to develop and oversee PI projects for residents and faculty that meet the Family Medicine Certification requirements. Approved sponsors will not be required to submit an application for ABFM review when developing and overseeing PI projects.

    Find out if your organization is participating here.

    Self-Directed Performance Improvement Projects
    When working with a small group or individually on an improvement project in your practice or work setting, the Self-Directed PI pathway allows you to document your project regardless of if continued patient care was provided.

    As part of this pathway you will be asked to identify the quality measures used during the project.

    This pathway allows individuals and family physicians in groups of ten or less to receive 20 Family Medicine Certification credits and satisfy the PI requirement for that project.

    To complete this pathway, select the Self-Directed PI Project option within the Physician Portfolio.

    Performance Improvement Activities That Do Not Require Continuous Patient Care

    Additional activities are available within the Physician Portfolio that allow physicians who do not have access to a continuous panel of patients to satisfy the PI requirement and/or earn Family Medicine Certification credits.

    These activities may be web-based or may be completed at the physician’s workplace. Additional activities available in the Physician Portfolio are:

    Other organization-based options are:

    • ABMS Portfolio Program (Find out if your organization is participating here)
    • Precepting Performance Improvement Program (Find out if your organization is participating here)


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