The American Board of Ophthalmology is a founding Member Board
of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and is one of
the organization's 24 recognized medical specialty certification
Established in 1933, the American Board of Medical Specialties
(ABMS), a not-for-profit organization comprising 24 medical
specialty Member Boards, that oversees the certification of
physician specialists in the United States. The primary function of
ABMS is to assist its Member Boards in developing and implementing
educational and professional standards to evaluate and certify
physician specialists. By participating in these initiatives, ABMS
also serves as a unique and highly influential voice in the
healthcare industry, bringing focus and rigor to issues involving
specialization and certification in medicine. ABMS is a designated
primary equivalent source of credential information.
Through ABMS, the boards work together to establish common
standards for physicians to achieve and maintain board
certification. The boards were founded by their respective
specialties to protect the public by assessing and certifying
doctors who meet specific educational, training and professional
In 2000, the 24 Member Boards of ABMS agreed to evolve their
recertification programs to one of continuous professional
development - ABMS Maintenance of Certification ® (ABMS MOC®). ABMS
MOC assures that the physician is committed to lifelong learning
and competency in a specialty and/or subspecialty by requiring
ongoing measurement of six core competencies adopted by ABMS and
ACGME in 1999. Measurement of these competencies happens in a
variety of ways, some of which vary according to the specialty.
This is carried out by all Member Boards using a four-part process
that is designed to keep certification continuous. In 2006, all
Member Boards received approval of their ABMS MOC program plans.
The boards are now in the process of implementation.
Working together, the ABMS and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
(ACGME) identified six competencies necessary for a physician
to deliver high quality patient care:
- Patient Care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective
for the treatment of health problems and the promotion of
- Medical Knowledge about established and evolving biomedical,
clinical, and cognate (e.g. epidemiological and social-behavioral)
sciences and the application of this knowledge to patient
- Practice-Based Learning and Improvement that involves
investigation and evaluation of patient care, appraisal and
assimilation of scientific evidence, and improvements in patient
- Interpersonal and Communication Skills that result in effective
information exchange and teaming with patients, their families, and
other health professionals.
- Professionalism as manifested through a commitment to carrying
out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles,
and sensitivity to a diverse patient population.
- Systems-Based Practice as manifested by actions that
demonstrate an awareness of and responsiveness to the larger
context and system of health care and the ability to effectively
call on system resources to provide care that is of optimal
For more information about the ABMS and ABMS Member Boards,
visit the ABMS web site: http://www.abms.org/.