ABR Reaches Stakeholders Through Meetings, Publications, and Open Communication
By Paul E. Wallner, DO, ABR Associate Executive Director for Radiation Oncology; David Laszakovits, MBA, ABR Director of Communications; and Anthony M. Gerdeman, PhD, ABR Director of Exam Services
Two important elements of the American Board of Radiology’s responsibility to its stakeholders are transparency and availability. To meet this responsibility, Board representatives participate in many stakeholder meetings, provide regular articles and columns for a variety of publications, and maintain open lines of communication with staff and volunteer leadership of most organizations representing its constituent residents, candidates, and diplomates. The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) is the largest radiation oncology (RO) specialty society in the United States, with more than 4,200 physician members. The primary criterion for active membership in the Society is board certification by the ABR. Over 95% of U.S. radiation oncologists are ASTRO members; thus, working with ASTRO gives the ABR access to effectively all its RO diplomates. With outreach to the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology (ARRO), the Association of Directors of Radiation Oncology Programs (ADROP), and the Society of Chairs of Radiation Oncology Programs (SCAROP), the Board can also relate to all residents and candidates for Initial Certification.
To provide personalized services to its RO diplomates through ASTRO, the Board takes advantage of additional opportunities. The ASTRO news magazine, ASTROnews, is published in print and electronic formats bimonthly. Five issues a year are topic focused, and the ABR provides a From the ABR column for each of them. Where possible and appropriate, the Board column relates to the primary focus of the edition. The sixth edition is related solely to the ASTRO annual meeting; therefore, no ABR article is provided.
Every year, the ABR staffs a booth for the ASTRO annual meeting. Staff respond to individual queries and distribute available program literature. Inquiries most often relate to various aspects of Continuing Certification (MOC). This year, the ASTRO meeting will be held in San Antonio, Texas, October 23-26. The theme of the meeting, Artificial Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence: Caring for Patients in a Wireless World,1 gave rise to internal ABR consideration of how AI, especially, might be utilized by the ABR in the future.
AI will almost certainly provide tools to enable the Board to improve services to stakeholders, including in areas such as review and modification of policies and procedures, maintenance and search of records, and management of volunteer committee activities. AI will likely also be a valuable tool for exam development, with tracking of “good” versus problematic items (questions), generation of unique exam sets (forms), generation of new items, and verification of references. AI should also be a useful aid to expedite, verify, and distribute performance scores. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has mandated that its 24 Member Boards include clinical informatics content in Initial and Continuing Certification assessment instruments. Beginning in 2021, this domain (including AI material) was included in RO exams and the Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) instrument.
- American Society for Radiation Oncology Membership Criteria https://www.astro.org/About-ASTRO/Governance/Bylaws Accessed Sept. 20, 2022.