Maintenance of certification for family physicians (MC-FP) self assessment modules (SAMs): the first year

J Am Board Fam Med. 2006 Jul-Aug;19(4):398-403. doi: 10.3122/jabfm.19.4.398.


Introduction: In 2000, the American Board of Medical Specialties adopted Maintenance of Certification (MOC) to replace intermittent, periodic recertification. MOC consists of 4 components: demonstration of professionalism (part I); commitment to life-long learning (part II); demonstration of cognitive expertise (part III); and evaluation of performance in practice (part IV). The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) implemented Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) in 2004, with its MC-FP part II self-assessment modules (SAMs) as the focus of the first year's activities.

Methods: The SAMs use materials and resources provided at the ABFM's website ( As of April 2005, approximately 7000 Diplomates had successfully completed SAMs in essential hypertension (N = 2351) and type 2 diabetes mellitus (N = 4648). Participants completed categorical modified Likert scale evaluations to receive continuing education credit, and many offered unstructured free-text comments regarding the clinical simulation component. These free-text comments were entered into the AnSWR qualitative analysis program from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Text coding was performed by 2 authors (MDH, DJI). As no inferential analyses or comparisons were anticipated, the authors conducted no studies of inter-rater consistency. Results are reported as means (SD) and medians for continuous data, and as frequencies for count data.

Results: Likert-scale ratings indicated generally favorable responses (predominantly 5 to 6 on a 6-point scale) to the hypertension and diabetes SAMs. In addition, over half (ie, 55% for hypertension and 54% for diabetes participants) of the respondents indicated that the experience would lead to changes in their practices. Navigation and system operation issues predominated in the free-text comments offered for the diabetes and hypertension simulations.

Conclusion: The MC-FP SAMs received generally favorable ratings in the program's first year. The SAMs underwent a number of modifications and improvements during the first year, largely in response to feedback and suggestions from ABFM Diplomates.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Certification*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Family Practice*
  • Humans
  • Professional Competence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • United States