Changes Coming to MOC: Will Physicians Get Relief?

Leigh Page


June 05, 2018

In This Article

The MOCA Minute: Model for the New Tests

Unlike other MOC policies, the more frequent testing model was initiated by one board, the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), rather than the ABMS. The ABA introduced the MOCA Minute in 2014, when other boards—most notably, the ABIM—were tightening their MOC standards and facing an immense physician backlash.

"The ABA was one of the first boards to pay attention to the discontent of its physicians," Sibert recalls. "It convened a 2-day summit to consider redesign of its MOC program and concluded that the 10-year exam is not the most effective way to learn and retain knowledge."

In the MOCA Minute, users are sent 30 questions and can answer one or more of them per sitting within a 3-month period. Physicians are told that they have 1 minute to answer, but it seems that they can take more time than that.[10] After answering, a feedback page shows the correct answer, an explanation of the answer with references, and a one-sentence summary of the material.

Sibert has not taken the MOCA Minute because she has bailed out of the MOC process, but she doesn’t like what she hears about it, such as its multiple choice format, which is standard for board testing. "Not everyone learns well from a multiple-choice format," she says. "I certainly don't." She also has heard that the questions are not well focused on subspecialty knowledge.

Reception from anesthesiologists who have taken it, however, has been generally positive. In a 2017 poll of MOCA Minute users by the ABA, 75% said that it served them somewhat or very well, and 62% liked it better than the traditional MOC exam.[11]

MOCA Minute Spin-Offs

About a dozen boards have embraced the MOCA Minute model. Some have developed their own technology while others are using CertLink, developed by the ABMS, and only a few have provided substantive information on their plans so far:

American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). In the board's MOCA-Peds program, doctors answer up to 20 questions every 3 months in the first 4 years of each 5-year cycle. The model starts in 2019.[12]

American Board of Radiology (ABR). In the Online Longitudinal Assessment, radiologists will receive weekly emails telling them that an online question is waiting for them. Those with an incorrect answer will receive future questions on the same topic later on to gauge whether they have learned the material. The pilot starts in 2019 with diagnostic radiology, followed later by other fields.[13]

American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics. In a 6-month cycle, physicians receive 24 questions that they can answer at their own pace.[14]

American Board of Nuclear Medicine (ABNM). The board has been planning a longitudinal assessment that was due to launch in 2017, but there is little information on its website, except that "participation and learning will be the goals, rather than a 'passing' score."[15]


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