Evaluating the Perception Among Rheumatologists of Maintenance of Board Certification in the US

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2019 Mar;71(3):337-342. doi: 10.1002/acr.23823.


Objective: There continues to be a debate about the value and purpose of maintenance of certification (MOC) programs in the US. The goal of this study is to assess the impact, value, and purpose of MOC programs in rheumatology.

Methods: A survey was sent to 3,107 rheumatologists in the US. The survey addressed how rheumatologists perceive the value and impact of MOC programs on rheumatology practice and patient care.

Results: A total of 515 rheumatologists completed this survey. The majority (74.8%) believed there was no significant value in MOC, beyond what is already achieved from continuing medical education. Most rheumatologists did not believe MOC was valuable in improving patient care (63.5%), and the majority felt that the primary reason for creating MOC was either the financial well-being of board-certifying organizations (43.4%) or to satisfy administrative requirements in health systems (30%). Although 65.6% perceived that staying current with new medical knowledge was a positive impact of MOC programs, the MOC was perceived to result in time away from providing patient care (74.6%) and time away from family (74%). When asked about potential effects of requiring MOC, 77.7% reported physician burnout, 67.4% early physician retirement, and 63.9% anticipated an effect on reducing the overall number of practicing rheumatologists.

Conclusion: The majority of rheumatologists do not believe there is significant value for MOC programs. There is evidence for lack of trust in board-certifying organizations, and rheumatologists believe MOC programs contribute to physician burnout, early retirement, and loss in the rheumatology workforce.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Certification / standards*
  • Clinical Competence / standards*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception* / physiology
  • Rheumatologists / psychology
  • Rheumatologists / standards*
  • Specialty Boards / standards*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards
  • United States / epidemiology