Letters to the Editor
A Cogent Argument for Abandoning the Recert Exam
Thank you to Drs. Alberto Hazan and Jordana Haber for making a cogent argument that it is time for the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) to abandon the recertification exam. (“Isn't It Time to Abandon the Recertification Exam?” EMN 2016;38:7; http://emn.online/MindfulJune16.) ABEM needs to address this issue because “most emergency physicians agree we should reform maintenance of board certification by abolishing the 10-year exam,” they wrote.
Bravo to the American Board of Anesthesiology for taking the lead on this issue and doing away with their 10-year exam by offering a “more relevant and personalized approach ... to assess their knowledge and address knowledge gaps through online quizzes and other educational material.”
The biggest problem with the ABEM exam is the heavy skew toward critical care and trauma. No doubt this is because the questions are written by academic emergency physicians, who mostly work in trauma centers. The test is not a fair assessment of ability or knowledge for those of us who work in community emergency departments, freestanding emergency centers, or urgent care.
ABEM should offer different 10-year exams based on the different types of emergency medicine practice or it should follow anesthesiology and abandon the exam altogether. Maintaining the status quo wastes our time and money and will force good emergency physicians to leave emergency medicine, which will exacerbate the current shortage of physicians and lower the overall quality of care to the American public.
David Hoyer, MD
HoustonWolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.