Overview: This study reviews the first decade of critical care medicine (CCM) certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine (1987-1996). Included are the characteristics of examinee and certificate-holder groups; examination performances from different underlying disciplines of internal medicine, with or without formal CCM training; and the influence of background and a training program as correlates of examination performance.
Data sources: The CCM certification examination has been offered biennially since November 1987. Performance data on the American Board of Internal Medicine examinations in internal medicine and its subspecialties and added qualifications were available for candidates taking the CCM examinations. For examinees with formal CCM training, residency program director ratings, and information regarding the program characteristics of size and percentage of United States and Canadian medical graduates were also available.
Study selection: All examinees who ever attempted certification were included in this study. The study cohort for each of the five examination administrations consists of all first-time takers.
Conclusions: Cohort sizes have decreased since formal training became an admission requirement in 1993. Percentages of International Medical Graduates and women attempting and achieving certification have increased steadily. Examination performance was positively associated with formal training, internal medicine examination performance, recent medical training, and pulmonary disease certification. For those with formal training, performance was also positively associated with training program director ratings of overall clinical competence and completion of a training program with a higher proportion of United States and Canadian medical graduates.