Relationships of Ratings of Clinical Competence and ABIM Scores to Certification Status - American Board of Medical Specialties

The aim of this study was to compare the performance of Board certified internists who attempted certification in a subspecialty, and those who did not. Study participants were followed for 5 years. Besides comparison between the groups, participant performance was compared within the subset of the subspecialties. Overall clinical competence ratings by residency program directors and certification examination scores served as performance measures. Study findings suggest that the candidates who passed the subspecialty examination were perceived as most clinically competent at the end of their residency training. Similarly, examinees who earned a subspecialty certification scored highest on their initial certifying examination. There was no significant variation among the program director ratings within the subset of the examinees who obtained certification in both internal medicine and a subspecialty. Similarly, differences in average performance on an initial internal medicine examination were minimal among the members of this subset. In this retrospective study, scores were combined across the cohorts and not equated. Similarly, ratings by residency directors assessed participant performance indirectly. Nevertheless, study results point to differences among the performance of certified internists and certified subspecialists.

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