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Shepard R. Hurwitz, MD

AAOS Now

Published 6/1/2014
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Shepard R. Hurwitz, MD

MOC Updates: What Orthopaedic Surgeons Need to Know

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery’s (ABOS) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process first went into effect for those diplomates whose board certification expired in 2010. Although much of the MOC process has remained the same since its inception and will continue to do so, diplomates should make note of the following recent changes to MOC and should be aware that other changes may be on the horizon.

New policy for computer examination
The ABOS has changed its policy regarding those who take the computer recertifying exam. For the past 2 years, those diplomates who failed the computer exams were required to then take an oral recertifying exam. Starting in 2014, those diplomates who fail a computer exam will be allowed to take a computer exam the following year, provided the diplomate’s certification has not expired. Those diplomates who fail an oral exam must take an oral exam the following year and may not switch to a computer exam.

Certification and MOC status on ABOS.org
As of January 2014, the ABOS began posting the certification and MOC status of all diplomates of the ABOS on the ABOS website (
www.abos.org). Information on MOC status appears when a user searches for a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon using the “Find a Certified Orthopaedist” feature. MOC status is listed in the following ways:

  • “MOC: Not required”—For time unlimited certificate holders
  • “Meeting MOC requirements”—For those diplomates whose certification is current and whose MOC dashboards show that MOC requirements are being met
  • “Not meeting MOC requirements”—For those time-limited certificate holders who have not activated their MOC reporting on ABOS.org or have not entered CME or SAE for the first 3-year cycle of MOC
  • “No status”—For those diplomates who have allowed their time-limited certification to expire

MOC status is now also available to the public via the American Board of Medical Specialties’ Certification Matters website, certificationmatters.org

Looking to the future
There is no plan to change the 10-year MOC timeline. Similarly, the number of CME credits required will remain the same; however, there will likely be more activities that can be completed to count toward (or satisfy) the credit requirements from scored and recorded self-assessment examinations (SAEs). Specifically, diplomates will have the option of completing Practice Improvement Modules (PIMs) and/or multispecialty portfolio projects to count toward (or satisfy) the SAE credit requirements.

Orthopaedic PIMs, which are currently in development, will offer orthopaedists a new way of evaluating the care they provide to patients through a series of steps in which orthopaedists document a number of cases with the same diagnosis, assess the results, and make changes based on the findings. PIMs will count for 10 or 20 SAE credits.

Diplomates will also have the option of completing multispecialty portfolio projects that count as the equivalent of 10 SAE credits or 20 SAE credits. Look for more information about these quality improvement activities soon on the ABOS website www.abos.org

Finally, another change on the horizon relates to naming conventions. In 2015, the four components of MOC (Part 1: Evidence of Professional Standing; Part II: Life-Long Learning and Self-Assessment; Part III: Evidence of Cognitive Expertise; and Part IV: Evidence of Performance in Practice) will be renamed at the direction of the American Board of Medical Specialties. The substance and requirements of these four main MOC components, however, will remain the same.

More adjustments to MOC may occur as the ABOS continues to collaborate with a task force from the AAOS to improve the MOC process and provide AAOS fellows with better feedback from sources such as case lists, PIMs, quality improvement activities, and other items.

Questions? Contact the ABOS
The ABOS is the authority on MOC. Contact the ABOS at 919-929-7103 or visit
www.abos.org for specific information about MOC requirements and deadlines.

Shepard R. Hurwitz, MD, is executive director of the ABOS. He can be reached at shurwitz@abos.org

Use the Learning Portfolio to manage MOC
The Learning Portfolio, a member benefit from the Academy, provides diplomates with an effective way to track their progress online as they fulfill MOC requirements. The Learning Portfolio, which can be customized according to a diplomate’s preferences, helps the user track CME credits earned through Academy and participating society programs, find a vast selection of educational courses and products offering CME credits, and receive alerts regarding his or her CME status. Diplomates may also add CME to their transcripts that they earned through non-Academy providers, such as a hospital, specialty society, or state and regional societies.

Diplomates can visit the Learning Portfolio at www.aaos.org/portfolio to see exactly where they are in their 10-year process and to find out which MOC deadlines are approaching.

Those with questions about the Learning Portfolio should contact the Academy’s member services department at member@aaos.org or call 847-384-4259, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., CDT. Questions about MOC should be directed to the ABOS at 919-929-7103.