The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is a non-profit, independent physician organization in the U.S. that certifies physicians who practice in internal medicine and its sub-specialties. More than 180,000 physicians are ABIM certified – about one out of every three physicians practicing in the United States. Christine K. Cassel, MD is the current president and CEO of the ABIM.
Established in 1936, ABIM certificates are recognized throughout the world as signifying a high level of physician competence. The certificate demonstrates that a doctor has met rigorous standards through intensive training and systematic evaluation of competence. ABIM is the only recognized U.S. board in the specialty of internal medicine and is one of 24 certifying boards recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
Physicians may earn a certificate when they have successfully completed residency or fellowship training and have passed a secure examination of knowledge. Board certification is widely accepted as a marker of excellence. Most hospitals require internists to be board certified in order to have admitting privileges, and many health plans require certification for contracting or eligibility for select networks.
Maintenance of Certification (MOC)
Beginning in 1990, certificates were time-limited to ten years, and have to be renewed through ABIM’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. There are four elements to this program:
Verification of Credentials: Physicians must have a valid, unrestricted license to practice medicine . An action against a license compromises the most basic professional credential.
Self-Evaluation of Medical Knowledge: Physicians use open-book tests of knowledge developed by ABIM or others to self-assess their own clinical knowledge in a particular field. These stimulate learning but also require that learning be documented. Medical knowledge and the technology essential to care are evolving at an incredible rate. Physicians need to keep up.
Self-Evaluation of Practice Performance: Physicians use ABIM’s Practice Improvement Modules (PIMs) to assess their performance in a clinical area relevant to their practice, compare their performance to clinical guidelines, develop a plan to improve important aspects of their practice, and assess the impact of that improvement plan. Self-assessment of performance in practice helps physicians see that the quality of care they provide is not always what they expected, and establishes measurement and improvement as valuable parts of practice (rather than externally imposed requirements).
Secure Examination: Physicians are required to pass a closed-book, proctored, computer-based exam. The exam includes 180 questions that are pre-tested for relevance, and create a simulated environment in which critical aspects of clinical knowledge and judgment can be evaluated. It is not just what physicians know—but how they use what they know to promote health, and to diagnose and treat illness effectively and efficiently—that matters.
Allergy and Immunology •Anesthesiology •Colon and Rectal Surgery •Dermatology •Emergency Medicine •Family Medicine •Internal Medicine •Medical Genetics •Neurological Surgery •Nuclear Medicine •Obstetrics and Gynecology •Ophthalmology •Orthopaedic Surgery •Otolaryngology •Pathology •Pediatrics •Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation •Plastic Surgery •Preventive Medicine •Psychiatry and Neurology •Radiology •Surgery •Thoracic Surgery •Urology
Anesthesiology •Dermatology •Emergency Medicine •Family Practice •Internal Medicine •Neurology and Psychiatry •Neuromusculoskeletal Medicine •Nuclear Medicine •Obstetrics and Gynecology •Ophthalmology •Orthopedic Surgery •Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery •Pathology •Pediatrics •Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation •Preventive Medicine •Proctology •Radiology •Surgery
Anesthesiology •Dermatology •Diagnostic Radiology •Disaster Medicine •Emergency Medicine •Family Practice •Geriatric Medicine •Internal Medicine •Obstetrics and Gynecology •Ophthalmology •Orthopaedic Surgery •Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery •Psychiatry •Radiation Oncology •Surgery