ABS Study Links Initial Certification to Risk of Receiving Severe Disciplinary Actions Against Medical Licenses

Study finds that ABS board certification and performance on ABS exams were associated with lower rates of severe disciplinary actions against medical licenses.

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) was founded in 1937 to provide board certification to individuals who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge in the field of surgery. Board certification is used as a marker of surgeon quality and professionalism, and although research has linked certification in surgery to outcomes, more research is needed.

In this retrospective analysis, Jason P. Kopp, Ph.D., and colleagues, studied severe license action rates for 44,290 surgeons who attempted ABS certification, based on certification status and examination performance. Results showed that the incidence of severe license actions was significantly greater for surgeons who attempted and failed to obtain certification than surgeons who were certified, indicating that obtaining board certification is associated with a lower rate of receiving severe license actions from a state medical board.

This study provides supporting evidence that board certification can be viewed as a marker of surgeon quality and professionalism.

To view the study and its findings, please visit the JAMA website (subscription required).

Mar. 18, 2020 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney

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