Practice Improvement Activity Options

Practice Improvement Activities are designed to encourage ongoing assessment and improvement of patient care in ophthalmology. Participating in improvement activities allows you to measure your practice performance and develop an actionable plan for improvement based on best practices and de-identified peer benchmarks. The ABO encourages you to tailor your quality improvement experience to the topic(s) most relevant to your practice. The current menu of acceptable improvement activities gives you the freedom to choose from the following options:

Complete an Online Practice Improvement Module (PIM)

Practice Improvement Modules (PIMs) are self-directed online activities that require review of 30 patient records associated with a specific diagnosis or diagnoses. PIMs assist with the evaluation of practice standards; identification of areas for improvement through self-assessment; and a reduction of gaps in quality of care through improved patient outcomes. There are 28 module options.  


Create Your Own Quality Improvement Project

Develop your own clinical or non-clinical project to make a change in your practice. An increasing number of diplomates are taking advantage of the opportunity to satisfy this requirement while addressing issues important to them in their own practice. Designing a practice improvement activity will require you to:

  • Identify a problem
  • Examine relevant data
  • Set improvement goals
  • Identify plan and steps for improvement
  • Conduct improvement (minimum of 90 days)
  • Reflect on the outcomes and submit activity summary for MOC credit

The ABO uses a shared platform called the MOC Activity Manager linked from your Status Page to accept and review applications for quality improvement projects that you create. The application lifecycle takes about 4-6 weeks from submission through approval. Click here to view a sample application.

  • Applications are accepted at any time by clicking the link on your Status Page and are processed and reviewed on a monthly basis.
  • Proposal reviewed within four weeks and either approved, not approved, or additional information is requested.
  • Once a project is reviewed, you will be notified to conduct your project and report on the outcome by the date designated in the project approval. 
Independent Improvement Project Options

Use data from your practice, including reports generated through your EHR. Examples of previously approved diplomate projects are listed below. Before submitting a project for pre-approval via the MOC Activity Manager link on your Status Page

Sample Projects:

Use your American Academy of Ophthalmology IRIS® (Intelligent Research in Sight) Registry Data. IRIS participants can access a dashboard that provides monthly performance rates on 15 clinical quality measures and 6 quality improvement measures. The data can be used to identify two or three areas for improvement, set specific goals for each, outline the steps you will take to achieve your goals, and evaluate your success by looking at the subsequent monthly performance rates provided to you on your IRIS dashboard. Because the registry data are obtained from your EHRs, this option requires no manual data entry. Projects must be pre-approved, and may be submitted via the MOC Activity Manager link on your Status Page.

The nation's first comprehensive eye disease clinical registry, IRIS was developed by the AAO as part of the profession's shared goal of continual improvement in the delivery of eye care. Active engagement with IRIS enables ophthalmologists to satisfy meaningful use Public Health Objective 10, Measure Option 3, Specialized Registry Reporting. Members of the AAO have access to the registry as a free member benefit.

Use the data from the ABO’s Patient Experience of Care (PEC) SurveyThe PEC Survey allows you to obtain feedback directly from your patients. You can use this tool to develop a quality improvement project by having 45 patients complete the 15-question survey. You can then use this report to identify two or three areas for improvement, set specific goals for each, outline the steps you will take to achieve your goals and evaluate your success by having 45 additional patient complete the survey and evaluating the success of your goals. PEC projects must be pre-approved, and may be submitted via the MOC Activity Manager link on your Status Page. Access to the PEC Survey is offered to all diplomates at no charge via a link from the Status Page. Patient surveys can be returned by mail, phone, or online. 

Engage in a Multi-Specialty Portfolio Project at your institution. If your institution is a Portfolio Sponsor through the Multi-Specialty Portfolio Program, you can complete a quality improvement activity using this team-based, organizational pathway.

Other Resources

You can get ideas for improvement projects by browsing previously approved projects, reviewing the templates for Practice Improvement Modules (PIMs), and consulting the following resources:

  • The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has a robust website with resources to guide you through improvement processes based on the Model for Improvement methodology. You will find valuable information on topics from setting improvement goals to identifying measures, and from developing quality improvement plans and testing changes to implementing and spreading changes.
  • The American Board of Family Medicine's winter 2013 issue of The Phoenix contains an article about how to develop and implement a self-directed project, which may be helpful for understanding how to create relevant, meaningful projects.
  • The American Board of Pediatrics has developed a quality improvement guide containing helpful information about common improvement principles. 

If you are no longer engaged in direct patient care and unable to complete a quality improvement activity, the ABO allows non-practicing diplomates to maintain certification under Clinically Inactive Status.