Evolving Health Care Systems and Approaches to Maintenance of Certification

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This supplemental issue to the Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions (JCEHP) on maintenance of certification (MOC)* is sponsored by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). It provides a highly useful overview of the programmatic efforts of ABMS in the United States), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC), and the General Medical Council (GMC) of the United Kingdom to maintain and document over time the competence of physicians.
Unlike most issues of JCEHP, the primary focus of this issue is on regulatory policies and practices adopted at the national level. Two points of intersection of MOC with continuing education are (1) the development and validation of approaches to assessing physician knowledge and competence, and (2) facilitating practice-based learning. Perhaps the most fundamental convergence is the shared goal of improving patient safety, enhancing health care quality, and reducing costs.
Researchers, practitioners, and policymakers in continuing education in the health professions need to be aware of the history, current status, and future directions for MOC in these three countries. MOC is the subject of an increasing number of research studies, creating a unique opportunity to learn from the work addressing MOC. In addition, whether in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom, MOC has a significant educational component creating both the opportunity and the need for better integration between continuing medical education (CME) and MOC.
In this editorial, we provide an overview of the contents of this supplemental issue, highlight key concepts and issues, and locate these efforts in a larger social and organizational context.
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