AAD - ABD Joint Statement Regarding MOC

The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) and the American Board of Dermatology (ABD) have met to discuss Maintenance of Certification (MOC) in order to enhance its convenience and relevance.

On this we can agree
The Academy and the ABD share the same goal — ensuring patients receive high-quality dermatologic care by physicians who are certified by the ABD. To that end, both organizations have agreed to assure a MOC environment conducive to relevant and meaningful learning for dermatologists.

Changes to MOC
The Academy and ABD value continuing medical education (CME) and recognize the desire of diplomates to be able to satisfy CME requirements for licensure while at the same time satisfying MOC requirements. The Academy and ABD will work to ensure that a variety of CME offerings are available to fulfill MOC simultaneously, such as expanding self-assessment offerings and developing new practice improvement activities. Practicing dermatologists should be able to complete MOC components conveniently — through participation in CME-associated educational activities at annual, regional, state, and local dermatology meetings or at low-cost online venues.

Dermatologists should also be able to avoid travel and minimize time away from practice when meeting MOC requirements. This includes the existing option of taking the formal evaluation of cognitive expertise offered twice yearly, at home or nearby testing centers, and receiving 60 hours of CME credit upon successful completion. The Academy and ABD are also working to make the evaluation of cognitive expertise available at future meetings of the Academy.

Our Goal
Both organizations are committed to enhancing the relevance of MOC, with the lowest burden to our colleagues, while maintaining the high standards that board certification promises to our patients. We have gone through a period of vigorous debate; now is the time to unite and foster a MOC program that works for our patients and board-certified dermatologists. We will continue to update you and value your feedback on this collaborative process.

American Academy of Dermatology Board of Directors and the American Board of Dermatology Board of Directors

MOC - Frequently Asked Questions

What has changed with MOC?
The most notable change is the availability of more CME that also qualifies for MOC Part II. The Academy and ABD are working together to ensure the availability of a diversity of options. At the AAD 2016 Annual Meeting, 61 sessions awarded Part II Self-Assessment credit compared with only 10 sessions in the prior year. Another initiative is the recent launch of the Academy’s Question of the Week, for which the ABD has contributed questions for the first year of the offering. Still, CME and MOC are not currently synonymous.

Will there still be a formal assessment (Part III) in the new MOC process?
Yes, the ABD requires an assessment of knowledge, judgment, and skills. The goal of this formal evaluation of cognitive expertise is to document that participants are keeping up to date; the goal is not to fail anyone. For that reason, the pass rate has been more than 98 percent the first attempt and 100 percent by the third attempt.

What’s the format for the formal assessment (Part III)?
Part III is the formal evaluation: a 100-question General Dermatology module plus a 50-question subspecialty module of the diplomate’s choosing. The ABD and the Academy are evaluating the prospect of an additional venue for Part III, at or around the time of the Academy’s Annual Meeting, for the convenience of diplomates. Diplomates who successfully complete the Part III activity will receive 60 hours of CME credit; that has not changed.

In the future, might I simply be able to attend an AAD meeting and participate in an audience response system (ARS) session to qualify for Part III?
Yes. The ability to do this does not exist today, but may be available to us in the future. The ABD requires a statistically valid assessment of individual cognitive expertise. The current formal evaluation is offered in a secured setting to ensure the identity of the individual being evaluated. Additional, more innovative ways of assessing cognitive expertise are being explored, and the ABD is committed to making the process as efficient as possible for diplomates.

Will Part III be sub-specialty specific, and can I take only the evaluation in my subspecialty?
The ABD requires that all candidates take the 100-question General Dermatology module. The General Dermatology module consists almost entirely of images with the accompanying question, “Which of the following is the most likely diagnosis?” Some questions include clinical information designed to help differentiate among the five possible answers. A list of diagnoses intended to serve as a study guide is available. This is a two-hour, computer-based evaluation.
In addition to the General Dermatology module, candidates select a second 50-question subspecialty module: Medical Dermatology, Dermatopathology, Pediatric Dermatology, or Surgical Dermatology. All questions, without answers, are made available for study before the evaluation. This module is a one-hour, computer-based evaluation.

Why can’t Part III be an open-book format?
It can, and the ABD is exploring other formats including an open-book format, but there are challenges. Some of the challenges, beyond security, include the disagreement among diplomates concerning their preferred method of formal evaluation.

What is the pass rate for the evaluation and how do I prepare for it?
The success rate is more than 98 percent on a first try, and candidates can re-take it multiple times, at no additional cost. As of the Spring 2015 administration, the ABD reports that all candidates thus far have successfully met the requirements of Part III, with no more than three attempts. For the general dermatology section, the ABD publishes a list of 198 diagnoses on its website — 100 of which comprise the evaluation. The actual questions for the subspecialty modules are provided in advance. Evaluations are now offered twice per year at testing centers, or via remote proctoring.

Will ‘Question of the Week’ replace Part III?
No. The Academy’s Question of the Week awards credit to satisfy Self-Assessment (Part II) requirements. In its current format, it is not intended to meet the requirements of Part III.

What happens to the Practice Improvement (Part IV) requirement?
The ABD has suspended the requirement for the next two years, beginning January 1, 2016. There are no penalties for diplomates during this time for not completing this requirement. During this period, the ABD is working to devise more tools for diplomates to fulfill this requirement, including a library of Practice Improvement Modules, which should be meaningful and easy to complete.