The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) have announced a new option for cardiologists to maintain their board certification, according to a press release issued by both professional organizations.

This announcement coincided with the ACC’s 68th Annual Scientific Sessions and Expo, held March 16 to 18 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The Collaborative Maintenance Pathway option “integrates lifelong learning and assessment with the goal of helping physicians stay current in knowledge and practice,” according to the press release. The program was developed by the ABIM and ACC in response to cardiologists who wanted to concentrate their studies in specific areas over the course of several years, as opposed to 1 test every 10 years.

A cardiovascular disease Collaborative Maintenance Pathway that uses the ACC’s Adult Clinical Cardiology Self-Assessment Program “for both formative engagement in learning and the demonstration of currency with an annual performance assessment will be available in 2019,” according to the press release. A new performance test will available every year, with each test covering approximately 20% of cardiovascular disease, which means the breadth of general cardiology will be covered within 5 years. In 2019, the performance assessment will focus on arrhythmias.

To be eligible, physicians must be currently certified by ABIM and not in a Maintenance of Certification examination grace period, participate in the Adult Clinical Cardiology Self-Assessment Program, and spend time “engaging” in the topic areas covered annually by the Collaborative Maintenance Pathway Performance Assessment. The latter requirement translates to physicians spending 7 or more hours reading text, watching and listening to presentations, and/or completing practice questions in the arrhythmias chapter; completing all 94 arrhythmias practice questions (answering 70% or more correctly according to Continuing Medical Education requirements); and taking their first performance assessment in the fall of 2019.

“Through meaningful engagement with the physician community and professional societies, ABIM is proud to continue the evolution of our [Maintenance of Certification] program in a myriad of ways to better meet the needs of physicians and the patients they serve,” Richard J. Baron, MD, president and chief executive officer of ABIM said in the press release. “This new offering increases choice, flexibility, and relevance for board certified cardiologists while also keeping a performance standard that gives patients confidence that their physician possesses the current medical knowledge to deliver high-quality care.”

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This year will be regarded as a “no consequences” year for this new option, which means physicians will have met their ABIM assessment requirement as long as they have participated in both the engagement and performance components of the pathway. However, in 2020 and beyond, physicians must also pass the Performance Assessment to fulfill their ABIM assessment requirement.

Reference

American Board of Internal Medicine, American College of Cardiology unveil new option for cardiologists to maintain their board certification [press release]. New Orleans, LA: American College of Cardiology; March 15, 2019.

This article originally appeared on The Cardiology Advisor