Program Overview


Program Overview Introduction

The National Board of Clinical Medicine™ has been established to offer physicians in the United States the opportunity for a program of board certification/recertification and continuous update of certification. The purpose of the National Board of Clinical Medicine™ is to offer a voluntary process by which participants may show a level of competence with regard to major topics of knowledge in a specific specialty of medicine. The design of this program can be specific for each subspecialty and may be driven in part by committee members of each developed subspecialty. A design format for allergists/immunologists has been developed.

Design

The program is based upon a clinical exam tailored to the practicing allergists/immunologists. Sources of examination questions are provided to the examinee, and the exam will need to be completed within a defined timeframe. Certification will not be time-limited but the examinee will have documentation as to when the exam was taken and passed.

For those who desire or are in need of a recertification process, a recertification exam is available for examinees. Also, for those who require some type of continuous certification, a Continuous Update of Certification ™ program is available. All these programs are similar in the sense that they will review clinical topics in a format reflective of the current practices of clinical allergists/immunologists.

Allergists/Immunologists may also become board certified by this organization if they are involved in test question development and review.

Application Process

The process for board certification involves filling out an application and meeting a set of requirements. These requirements include the following:

  • completion of an accredited allergy/immunology fellowship program in the United States
  • valid medical license 
  • physician in good standing without any convictions or pending disciplinary action by any State medical board
  • fee for completing the exam.
  • prior certification by other organizations can streamline and shorten the application process and should be included in the application.


Exam Set-Up

The exam is composed of sections. Each section will have the sources of material used to formulate test questions for the examinee to refer to if necessary. Although the examinee will be requested to complete the exam alone (not with other allergists/immunologists), the use of other physicians in the community, textbooks, internet sources of information, etc, are encouraged in addition to the source material if the examinee desires. This will aid in reflecting the real-life practice of medicine that is used to answer clinical questions. This is a major goal of the National Board of Clinical Medicine™, i.e., to aid physicians in having a useful and clinically relevant form of board certification and/or recertification. The sources of questions focus on practice parameters developed by the Joint Task Force for Allergy and Immunology (or other material as deemed relevant by the exam committee). Each section represents one or more specific reference materials. These are clearly identified with each portion of test questions.

Completing the Exam

Once an application has been accepted, examinees will have a specific time frame to complete an open book exam reflecting the clinical practice of allergy/immunology. The sources of test questions will be available for participants to access when they are taking the exam. A score of 80% or above will be defined as a passing grade for the examination. There will be no “curves” for the exam.

Examinees who do not pass the exam will receive a partial refund of their exam cost. Should they choose to re-take the exam (i.e., those parts of the exam from which they received less than 80% score), they will be able to do so free of charge. They will only be required to retake those sections of the exam for which they received less than a score of 80%.

Continuous Update of Certification™ (CUC)

This has been developed for those doctors who may need evidence of Maintenance of Licensure, i.e., ongoing professional education. To complete CUC, the following will be required:

  • At least 25 hours per year of CME as determined clinically relevant by the doctor completing the CME. The CME should be of the same quality and standard as necessary to meet the state requirements for licensure of that physician.

 

Acceptance as a Certifying Body

  • Board certification is still considered voluntary. A new Board developed by allergists and with the transparency noted above should be acceptable to any organization that deems board certification a necessity. This will be more notable as the physician shortage in this country increases and as more allergists/immunologists and possibly other specialties in the future choose board certification through the National Board of Clinical Medicine™.

To address the looming maintenance of licensure (MOL) issue, the following should be noted:

  • Each state will have to approve the concept of MOL. Concerned doctors should get involved with their individual state medical boards to see where their state is with regard to this issue.
  • The Continuous Update of Certification™ has been developed to offer physicians the possibility of this program meeting future maintenance of licensure requirements if they are established by various states. We are monitoring this development closely.

 

Martin Dubravec, MD
Feb 4, 2013