From the Board of Governors

From the Board of Governors

ABR Board of Governors Supports Culture of Excellence

By Brent Wagner, MD, MBA, ABR Executive Director


At the Board of Governors (BOG) meeting in early February, the staff and I presented an initiative to address several process updates that are needed to directly support our candidates and diplomates. Much of the initiative relates to the IT infrastructure that underpins a broad range of customer service functions, including our attempts to optimize the interactions that individuals have through our website. Consistent with these efforts, the BOG supports a forward-looking approach, including our pursuit of “a culture of excellence.” Overall, our goals are to enhance service to our candidates and diplomates; automate and standardize our processes; and increase our efficiency. As you may know, many of our day-to-day tasks are complicated, which can lead to confusion for our candidates. By increasing transparency around these processes, we hope to decrease frustration and improve understanding.

The Board approved changes to the language of the Continuing Certification (MOC) Part 4 requirement for Participatory Quality Improvement Activities to include “peer learning” as well as “peer review,” acknowledging the evolution for many clinical practices in this regard. In addition, acknowledging the ABMS standards for “improving health and health care,” activities in support of improving health equity may also be used to satisfy the Part 4 requirement, recognizing that such activities would reasonably support “practice quality improvement.”

The Board had a lengthy discussion regarding the “decline” function within the Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) platform. The software currently does not allow individuals to enter comments when declining to answer an item. A brief survey will be introduced later this year to allow diplomates to share their reasons for declining an item. The feature was designed to allow individuals to refine their assessment to match, as much as possible, their clinical practice.

In addition, based on a request I made last year to introduce an objective view of the ABR’s execution and strategic risks, the BOG is moving forward with a risk assessment of several facets of our operation. While this is not in response to a specific urgent need or targeted concern, an outside consulting firm will work with us for several months and report their findings to the BOG. While I anticipate that they will confirm that most of our processes are effective and well executed, I hope they will offer suggestions that we can apply to enhance our performance consistent with industry best practices. I am excited by the opportunities this affords the ABR team. Board members appropriately hold me accountable for the functions that allow them to fulfill their oversight duties in support of the mission and, by extension, in support of the candidates and diplomates at varying stages of their certification journey.

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