Continuing Certification

    Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS)

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    Performance Improvement

    This component of ABFM Family Medicine Certification assesses a Diplomates competence in systematic measurement and improvement in patient care.

    Performance Improvement Activities

    The ABFM-developed Performance Improvement (PI) activities are called Performance in Practice Modules (PPMs) and are web-based, quality improvement modules in health areas that generally correspond to the Knowledge Self-Assessments (KSAs).

    Each physician will assess his or her care of patients using evidence-based quality indicators. After a physician enters data from 10 patients into the ABFM online activity, feedback is provided for each of the quality indicators. The performance data is used by the physician to choose an indicator for which a quality improvement plan will be designed. Using a menu of interventions available from various online sources, the physician designs a plan of improvement, submits the plan, and implements the plan in practice. After a minimum of 1 week, the physician again assesses the care provided to 10 patients in the chosen health area and enters the data into the ABFM website. The physician then is able to compare pre- and post-intervention performance, and compare their results to those of their peers. Evidence of improvement is not required to satisfy this Certification requirement.

    Once a Performance Improvement activity is started, it must be completed within 1 year. If the module is not completed in that time, the module must be restarted or a new module selected. Successfully completed PPMs, as part of the certification Performance Improvement requirement, may be submitted as a Best Practice Initiative in the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield (Highmark Blue Shield) Quality BLUE program. Currently, 20 CME credits are awarded for successfully completing each ABFM PPM.

    Approved Alternative Performance Improvement Activities
    The ABFM has approved numerous alternative Performance Improvement (PI) activities developed by external providers. Click here for a current list of alternative activities approved for PI credit. ABFM Diplomates who complete alternate Performance Improvement activities must submit the required Certification fees (beyond any cost paid to the external provider's fee) in order to receive Certification credit for the alternate activity. In addition, for the alternate PI activity to apply toward the PI requirement, it must be completed in the stage the Diplomate wishes to receive the credit.

    Alternative Performance Improvement Activities Approval Program
    The ABFM recognizes that many physicians already participate in Quality Improvement (QI) activities. Click here for more information about the standards and requirements for external providers of Performance Improvement (PI) activities.

    Self-Directed Performance Improvement Efforts
    The self-directed option for Performance Improvement credit allows physicians to implement relevant, customized Quality Improvement (QI) efforts, regardless of whether providing continuing care. Physicians identify measures for pre- and post-intervention data collection, develop custom QI plans, and describe the implementation of evidence-based interventions. Information about the Self-Directed Pathway and access to the application can be found here.

     
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    Performance Improvement Activities That Do Not Require Continuous Patient Care

    Methods in Medicine Modules
    The Methods in Medicine Modules (MIMMs) are performance improvement activities that can be accessed through the Physician Portfolio. Physicians who do not provide continuing care for patients can complete a MIMM to satisfy one performance improvement requirement. Since physicians who do have continuing care of patients are required to complete a performance improvement activity with patient continuity, the completion of a MIMM counts for Family Medicine Certification points only. These modules do not require direct access to continuity practice populations, but do include quality improvement concepts and activities that satisfy the Performance Improvement requirement. Currently, there is one MIMM available: Cultural Competency. Those physicians who complete the Cultural Competency MIMM are required to submit a copy of the certificate verifying completion of the activity in order to have the ABFM provide Family Medicine Certification performance improvement credit.

    Hand Hygiene
    The Hand Hygiene Module has been developed in collaboration with the American Board of Pediatrics with the belief that participation in this activity will lead to decreased health care associated infections in your patient care activities. This Performance Improvement (PI) activity provides for effective strategies and proven intervention tools to enhance hand hygiene. This activity includes published guidelines from the CDC and WHO that introduce practice-proven improvement strategies and tips for creating a culture of safety. The Hand Hygiene activity is available to physicians who do not provide continuing care for patients, as well as those who do. The completion of the Hand Hygiene PPM will satisfy one performance improvement requirement.

    Diplomates can access certification activities through the Track Your Progress page in their Physician Portfolio.

    Self-Directed Performance Improvement Efforts
    The self-directed option for Performance Improvement (PI) credit allows physicians to implement customized Quality Improvement (QI) efforts that are relevant to the physician's work context, regardless of whether providing continuing care. Using the appropriate application (clinical or non-clinical), physicians identify measures for pre- and post-intervention data collection, develop custom QI plans, and describe the implementation of evidence-based interventions. Information about the Self-Directed Pathway and access to the applications can be found here.

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