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J Am Board Fam Med. 2006 Jul-Aug;19(4):398-403.

Maintenance of certification for family physicians (MC-FP) self assessment modules (SAMs): the first year.

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Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine, Lexington, KY 40505, USA.



In 2000, the American Board of Medical Specialties adopted Maintenance of Certification (MOC) to replace intermittent, periodic recertification. MOC consists of 4 components: demonstration of professionalism (part I); commitment to life-long learning (part II); demonstration of cognitive expertise (part III); and evaluation of performance in practice (part IV). The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) implemented Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) in 2004, with its MC-FP part II self-assessment modules (SAMs) as the focus of the first year's activities.


The SAMs use materials and resources provided at the ABFM's website ( As of April 2005, approximately 7000 Diplomates had successfully completed SAMs in essential hypertension (N = 2351) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (N = 4648). Participants completed categorical modified Likert scale evaluations to receive continuing education credit, and many offered unstructured free-text comments regarding the clinical simulation component. These free-text comments were entered into the AnSWR qualitative analysis program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Text coding was performed by 2 authors (MDH, DJI). As no inferential analyses or comparisons were anticipated, the authors conducted no studies of inter-rater consistency. Results are reported as means (SD) and medians for continuous data, and as frequencies for count data.


Likert-scale ratings indicated generally favorable responses (predominantly 5 to 6 on a 6-point scale) to the hypertension and diabetes SAMs. In addition, over half (ie, 55% for hypertension and 54% for diabetes participants) of the respondents indicated that the experience would lead to changes in their practices. Navigation and system operation issues predominated in the free-text comments offered for the diabetes and hypertension simulations.


The MC-FP SAMs received generally favorable ratings in the program's first year. The SAMs underwent a number of modifications and improvements during the first year, largely in response to feedback and suggestions from ABFM Diplomates.

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