Progress to realign AOA Board Certification is well underway, with a goal to improve the user experience for applicants and diplomates. This complex process requires multiple infrastructure changes that will adapt board certification to meet members’ expanding technology expectations.
For over 75 years, AOA Board Certification has supported the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine with 18 specialty boards offering 29 primary specialties and 77 subspecialties.
AOA board certification is recognized throughout the United States as equivalent to ABMS certification and continues to serve an increasing number of DOs who value osteopathic principles and practices, says Daniel G. Williams, DO, AOA vice president of certifying board services.
With the transition to a single GME accreditation system more than halfway completed, AOA Board Certification is improving and evolving its certification programs to help DOs affirm their integral osteopathic identity, Dr. Williams explains.
“We also want osteopathic continuous certification (OCC) to maintain our osteopathic distinctiveness, to be cost-effective and credible,” Dr. Williams says. “It needs to be a frictionless process that integrates into the lifestyle of physicians, rather than an extra burden.”
As a diplomate and longtime member of the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists, Dr. Williams said he is committed to evolving certification to meet the needs of next-generation DOs. OCC is intended to give DO diplomates opportunities for continuous professional development focused on patient care, practice enhancement and lifelong learning, he added.
Here’s a breakdown of improvements in AOA Board Certification services:
1. Elevated user-experience
The Certifying Board Management System (CBMS) features a streamlined online application, and online score reporting capabilities. In addition, physicians can participate in online CME activities and verify OCC status through the Physician Portal. Certifying Board Services also provides physicians with automated reminders regarding certification expiration.
Application: The online application process reduces supplemental documentation requirements and the amount of time needed for physicians to apply for an exam. The form also pre-populates with AOA member information.
OCC components: The AOA physician portal is a resource for diplomates to check their progress toward OCC components so they’re prepared for board certification renewal. This platform is mobile-optimized and makes it easy for DOs to easily look up their status.
Computer-based exams: Nearly half of all certifying boards now offer computer-based testing at centers across the country. This change makes testing more convenient, bringing the test to DOs rather than requiring them to travel to a central location.
2. New technology for oral exams
The AOA is piloting video technology for an Oral Exam Monitoring System to support psychometrically sound scoring. Video monitoring of exam sessions will ensure a fair and consistent process for examiners and applicants.
3. Centralized website
The new centralized certifying board certification website modernizes the online experience for all boards. The site features simple navigation, making it easier to find exam dates, hosted documents and OCC processes. All certifying board websites are being converted this year.
4. A unified item banking system
Scheduled for implementation later in 2018, the new system will facilitate the boards’ exam development activities. Members working on board committees will be able to review questions on a secure platform, making the test development process more efficient.