POLL: Primary care physicians say MOC does not make them more effective

May 5, 2015

Physicians are highly unsatisfied with the maintenance of certification process and question its efficacy, according to an exclusive reader poll

The vast majority of respondents have board certification. While physicians who were certified in 1989 or earlier are not required to recertify, physicians certified after that need to recertify every 10 years.

 

A resounding majority of physicians who answered the survey say they are not satisfied with the process as it stands today.  Common sentiments from readers are that the time-consuming process takes physicians away from their patients, isn’t relevant to their daily practice and exists simply to make money for medical specialty boards.

"MOC is a money maker for the Boards and a money loser/money waster for me,” wrote one survey participant.

 

One of the major debates about MOC is whether the process actually makes physicians better. While MOC supporters and opponents often point to studies that bolster their arguments, a large majority of readers surveyed believe that MOC does not improve a physician’s clinical skills.

"MOC does not add anything to patient care and does not make better doctors,” wrote one physician. "Unfortunately, MOC is just another example of the medical industrial complex profiteering off of providers because it can.”

 

Many physicians who oppose MOC believe that the best alternative is to make continuing medical education (CME) the sole requirement for physicians who seek to stay up on current techniques and skills.

As one physician wrote: "Initial board certification should require testing with maintenance requiring only CME.”

Other physicians believe the issue is not so cut and dry. "I think CME can be very effective,” wrote another physician respondent," but the quality of CME would have to be considered.”

 

Most physician respondents believe that testing should not be necessary for re-certification because of the added burden it places on busy practicing physicians.

As one physician wrote: “I have learned new information from MOC but there was too much effort required and it is very expensive.  Those of us with busy practices find it extremely difficult to find time for MOC, and testing adds stress in my life which is already too stressed.”

Still, other physicians said there is some value to testing: “Periodic testing does seem relevant and appropriate to me,” said one physician.

Said another: "The exam was fine. I think it was worth the time. Passing made me feel good."

 

About the poll

The survey was conducted via web poll between April 22 and April 29. The five-question survey was deployed to physician readers of Medical Economics via our email newsletters. Survey results were obtained from 2,500 physicians, who also were given an option to leave written comments.