Certification and Specialization: Do They Matter in the Outcome of Acute Myocardial Infarction - American Board of Medical Specialties

This study examined the differences among certified and non-certified cardiologists, internists, and family practitioners in light of their AMI patient mortality. The Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council data for AMI admissions and AMA Masterfile for specialty Board certification status and year of graduation from medical school were analyzed for this purpose. The AMI patient outcome data was risk adjusted. Besides patient and physician characteristics, hospital characteristics and hospital location were taken into consideration.  Study findings suggest that lower mortality is associated with treatment by cardiologists that cared for larger numbers of patients, were closer to their year of graduation from medical school, and were Board certified. Certification was associated with 15% reduction in AMI patient mortality. Limitations associated with physician attribution, risk adjustment procedures and lack of information on physician-patient relationships apply.

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