Role for assessment in maintenance of certification: physician perceptions of assessment

J Contin Educ Health Prof. Winter 2015;35(1):11-7. doi: 10.1002/chp.21265.


Introduction: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada modified its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) framework in 2011 to further incentivize assessment activities compared to group and self-learning. The purpose of this study was to explore physician's perceptions of their access to assessment activities, barriers to participation in assessment, and the need for the Royal College to further support its fellows in gaining access to assessment activities.

Methods: A questionnaire-based survey was sent to all participants of the MOC program as part of a program evaluation examining recent changes to the MOC program.

Results: 5259 respondents contributed responses. Most physicians were comfortable with the revised framework for assessment while approximately 40% were neutral regarding whether lack of access to self-assessment activities was a problem. Respondents expressed a need for more self-assessment programs particularly those developed outside of Canada. Neither a lack of feedback about performance or discomfort with recording performance gaps was perceived as a barrier to participation in assessment activities. Physician comments were consistent with the quantitative data and elaborated on the need to develop and recognize more assessment activities.

Discussion: Physicians accepted the revised MOC program framework but perceived difficulty in accessing assessment programs, activities, and tools. As the framework changed again January 2014, requiring all fellows and MOC program participants to completion of at least 25 credits in each section of the MOC program (including assessment) during their new 5-year MOC cycle, additional resources will be needed to support opportunities for physicians to engage in assessment.

Keywords: Maintenance of Certification; assessment; continuing professional development; medical/clinical speciality; physician assessment/remediation; profession-physician; self-assessment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Canada
  • Certification / methods*
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Education, Medical, Continuing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Physicians / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires