Phoenix Newsletter - May 2024

President’s Message: Progress Update – Improving the Value and Experience of Board Certification

We are committed to improving continuously what we do.

Warren Newton photo
Warren Newton, MD, MPH | President and CEO

Our goal is to continually improve ABFM Board Certification with your input. Over the last five years, we have worked hard to further enhance the Diplomate experience and increase the intrinsic value of board certification without increasing burden. In this spirit, within the last three months, we have implemented a series of product experience enhancements designed to make it easier for you to navigate the continuous certification process.

In February, we announced the Digital Credential Program (also known as the digital badge), which provides a convenient way for you to share the achievement of ABFM Board Certification with your patients, colleagues, and the public. Since the launch, over 22,000 of you have downloaded the digital badge!  If you have not already claimed yours, it is available in your MyABFM Portfolio.

In March, we launched an enhanced Knowledge Self-Assessment user platform to provide a more intuitive user experience when completing self-assessment activities and better support the AAFP’s group CME activities. In April, we launched a fully redesigned ABFM public website, with streamlined navigation, an updated look and feel, and with pages showcasing actual ABFM board-certified physicians throughout. We wanted to simplify the process of learning about board certification and further educate the public about the importance of choosing an ABFM board-certified physician.

Over the last month, we have begun to add the option for you to receive text messages regarding important certification activity notices. You have the choice to opt-in by selecting the service in your MyABFM Portfolio, Communication Preferences. And soon, we will be rolling out a mobile app so you may access your MyABFM Portfolio from your mobile device.

Finally, on May 2, we announced Certification 2025, ABFM’s new Continuous Certification 5-Year Cycle, which will begin on January 1, 2025. We are making this change to meet the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) Assessment Standards for Continuing Certification. Every ABFM Diplomate will be enrolled in the new 5-Year Cycle when their next exam requirement is due. ABFM will honor the current 10-year exam requirement. For example, if you last met your exam requirement in 2022, you won’t transition to the new 5-Year Cycle until 2032.

What will the 5-Year Cycle consist of? This issue of the Phoenix provides further detail, but at the heart of the process is the Family Medicine Certification Longitudinal Assessment (longitudinal assessment) with 25 questions available online each quarter to complete at your convenience. You will never need to take the one-day exam again—unless you want to!

The outcomes of the pilot of the longitudinal assessment over the last five years have been outstanding. Over 34,000 Diplomates have participated, with a 95-99+% satisfaction rating on how it works, a 99% retention rate from year to year, and 84% of Diplomates reporting that they have made changes in their practice in response to the examination. The most common response is “I’m learning as I go,” and 85% report year after year that they look up things after answering the questions.

In addition to the exam, you will have flexibility to choose other activities according to what will be most useful for you and your practice, whether that is Knowledge Self-Assessments (KSAs), Continuous Knowledge Self-Assessment (CKSA), or participation in the ABFM National Journal Club. Performance Improvement also allows you to report on process improvements you are already making in your practice.

ABFM is committed to supporting you in making this transition as seamless as possible. In addition to this issue of the Phoenix, you can find more detailed information inside your MyABFM Portfolio. You can expect a series of emails over the next few months that will provide specific timing for when you will transition to the new 5-Year Cycle. Please contact the ABFM Support Center via email ([email protected]), live chat, or by phone at 877-223-7437, should you have additional questions.

Thank you in advance for your feedback on all our recent enhancements, as well as your dedication to your professional development, your patients, and your communities. We believe that ABFM Board Certification is a higher standard than medical licensure. We are committed to improving continuously what we do.

Warren P. Newton, MD, MPH
President and CEO
American Board of Family Medicine