Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On board certification

I saw an item on hospitalist board certifications that got me thinking about board certification in general. According to a recent study comparing the three major certifying organizations' requirements by medical specialty, all board certifications for hospitalists are equal.

I understand there has been some debate over hospitalist board certification. This also really made me wonder what board certification really means. Does it matter? Is it a true measurement of clinical qualifications?
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It’s a topic we will be exploring in the journal next year. It’s also something the nonprofit advocacy group Consumer Checkbook has explored. As I understand it, there are two dozen medical specialty boards, and each one develops their own exams and policies for recertification.

Some 90 percent of American physicians are board certified. But does it matter for patient outcomes, and is it a true indication of knowledge and qualifications? I am interested to hear if physicians believe the certification is worth the time and money; And why get certified, or why not?

1 comment:

  1. Since doctors are terrible at policing their own profession someone needs to be sure that doctors at least have the basic current knowledge to practice. The standard of care in Medicine changes rapidly and complacency can be deadly. The Internal Medicine recertification exam (at least in 2001- my last certification) could be passed by that monkey when he takes a break from typing Shakespeare's works. So if you can't pass that, something is wrong. Can't speak for FP/peds or the specialties.

    The only thing missing from most board exams is the answer (F) Get a consultation. Part of medicine is learning when you don't know something.