ABIM offers new online maintenance-of-certification module

A practice improvement tool allows internists to review clinical guidelines for better hospital care.

By Damon Adams — Posted Aug. 28, 2006

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Internists are using a new aid to improve care they provide to their hospital patients, and they soon will get help in learning the best ways to treat osteoporosis.

The American Board of Internal Medicine announced this summer that it is now offering a hospital-based patient care practice improvement module (PIM) for use in its maintenance-of-certification program. PIMs are Internet-based, self-evaluation tools internists complete to maintain certification and earn continuing medical education credit.

The module guides physicians through an evaluation of the quality of care they provide patients, using performance data collected by hospitals, the ABIM said.

"This module bridges the physician and hospital and brings them together for common good," said Steve Mayfield, senior vice president of quality and performance improvement for the American Hospital Assn., which worked with the ABIM and other groups on the quality improvement tool. "This is really good for patient care, good for the hospitals and good for the doctors."

The tool allows doctors to review clinical practice guidelines for heart failure, heart attacks and community-acquired pneumonia against their own hospital's practice, according to the ABIM.

"This module urges the physician to become involved in the hospital's quality improvement activity that is already ongoing. That is the unique feature of this module," said F. Daniel Duffy, MD, senior adviser to the ABIM president.

The ABIM also has created PIMs for diabetes, asthma, hypertension, hepatitis C and other illnesses. The Philadelphia-based board is developing modules on osteoporosis, care of patients on mechanical ventilation and comprehensive care. The osteoporosis PIM should be available later this year, Dr. Duffy said.

"The ABIM is committed to making this [maintenance-of-certification] process as nonredundant as possible and provide much value to the diplomates," he said.

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