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ABOHNS: A Progressive Approach to Continuing Certification that Includes Sleep Medicine

December 6, 2019 - 11:18am

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) released a communication on December 3 that has significant implications for otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons, particularly for those practicing sleep medicine. The content is consistent with positions put forth in the Vision Commission Report that recommended practice relevant continuing certification learning activities and moving away from the “high stakes” single point-in-time examination that dominated MOC.

The American Board of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (ABOHNS) has been pioneering a true continuing educational and assessment alternative to the traditional exam through their CertLink™ pilot. The vast majority of diplomates have converted to this process with very favorable feedback. Through incredible and persistent advocacy by the ABOHNS, under the leadership of Executive Director Brian Nussenbaum, MD, otolaryngologists sub-certified in sleep medicine will have the opportunity to participate in CertLink and a process that fairly assesses their practice knowledge and skills. Dr. Nussenbaum followed a rigorous vetting process at ABMS to get this pilot approved for ABOHNS sleep medicine diplomates with unanimous support from all 24 ABMS Boards. Concerns were subsequently expressed by some stakeholder specialty societies and the sleep medicine test committee, which has led to a delay in pilot implementation and a planned upcoming summit.

The AAO-HNS is supportive of the pilot and will be participating in the summit. Otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons should be thankful that the ABOHNS has advocated for and adopted a progressive approach to continuing certification that will now include sleep medicine. Click “Learn More” to read the letter from ABMS.

- James C. Denneny III, MD, AAO-HNS/F EVP/CEO

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