Demanding the end of ABIM recertification exams
The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is an organization tasked with protecting the public from dangerous internists. That is a noble goal, however, their methods are of dubious value.
After spending countless hours completing most of the medical knowledge self-assessment program (MKSAP 16) and taking a two-day comprehensive board review course (from the ACP). I passed my recertification exam in May 2014…by a margin of one question. But 35% of the doctors taking that test did not pass—an important fact that should not be overlooked.
In October and November 2015 I corresponded directly with Richard Baron, MD, the president and CEO of the ABIM. In his response to me he focused on the first-time test taker pass rate and the ultimate pass rate as the most relevant data. In fact, those are the only statistics available on the ABIM’s website regarding the MOC recertification exam.
I strongly disagree with his opinion. The bar for passing the secure exam is set so high that many “non-dangerous” internists will fail and become second- and third-time test takers, and these people are not counted in the statistics on their website. It is inconceivable that any more than 5% of internists practicing for 10 or 20 (or soon 30) years are “dangerous.” Some of us don’t go to hospitals anymore, and some of us focus our practice more in certain areas of medicine than in others, thus tailoring our practices to suit our interests. We may need to look up information for unusual cases more than we did 20 years ago, but that does not make us dangerous or deserving of being put through the rigors of preparing for an examination just because the ABIM has set the bar way too high.