MOC reform: One year later
This article reports the latest developments in the process of reform for the American Board of Pediatrics’ Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements, what transformations already have occurred, and what changes still lie ahead.
A new exam format
In May 2015, the ABP convened a conference to discuss converting the 10-year exam to one that is a complete departure from the existing format. The new testing concept is that pediatricians will be given questions on a regular ongoing basis, perhaps monthly via the Internet, and be allowed to research the topic before submitting their answers. In the view of the ABP, by changing to this format, pediatricians will utilize these questions either to gain new knowledge or reinforce present understanding. The idea was based on a pilot program developed by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA).
In 2015, 1400 ABA members participated in a Maintenance of Certification Assessment (MOCA) pilot. Participants received 1 multiple choice question via e-mail once a week. Once accessed, they had a limited amount of time to answer. They received feedback immediately indicating whether the answer was correct and a brief discussion, including references. If answered incorrectly, they would receive follow-up questions on the same subject weeks or months later. The ABA has subsequently replaced its current system with a redesigned MOCA 2.0 program that went into effect in January of this year.
According to a recent blog posted by ABP President and CEO David G Nichols, MD, provisional features of the ABP version of the MOCA exam will include the following (subject to change):
- Diplomates will establish a practice profile when registering for MOCA, so that the content can be weighted to suit the type of practice.
- Diplomates may receive 1 to 3 multiple choice questions per week.
- The amount of time allowed for the answer may vary depending on the complexity of the question.
- Online resources or books may be used, but because each question is timed, the diplomate will need to judge carefully whether to invest time in searching through a resource.
- A feedback page will pop up after submitting the answer.
- A randomization protocol will minimize the likelihood that any 2 diplomates receive the same questions during a given time period.
- Flexibility will allow diplomates to decide when to respond based on their schedule and time availability. Test security provisions may vary depending on whether the diplomate chooses to answer questions during the week they are delivered or wait to answer a batch of questions.
- If MOCA is ultimately adopted, the ABP will make pass/fail decisions based on the response patterns. Those who successfully participate will meet standards for Part 3 of Maintenance of Certification.
An ABP MOCA pilot will be launched next year. Interested pediatricians should visit the ABP website (www.abp.org) to find out more about the program and consider participating in focus groups regarding the MOCA pilot.