An update from the ABNS about the Continuous Certification (CC) Process

Elad I. Levy
Headshot of Dr. E. Sander Connolly
E. Sander Connolly

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The guiding principle of continuous certification (CC) is to foster excellence in patient care. The ABNS intends to encourage, stimulate and support continuing education in the practice of neurosurgery to assist its diplomates in their dedication to lifelong learning and self-assessment through CC.

The CC program is designed to allow diplomates to meet requirements as they continuously work to be current with changes in the specialty. The CC program reflects the realities of today’s neurosurgery practice. Emphasis is placed on core neurosurgery knowledge and practices common to all neurosurgeons. However, the ABNS realizes that neurosurgeons often concentrate in various subspecialties. The process has been designed to permit participants to include their subspecialty expertise when devoting time to CME activities and selecting a module for the CC Part III learning tool.

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Significant changes have been made to the CC process over the last year. The primary goal was to minimize the burden on neurosurgeons while elevating the standards to provide the best care for our patients. The new Continuing Certification process is as follows:

  • All Continuing Certification requirements are now required to be completed annually. You will be notified via email by the ABNS office how and when to complete them.
  • The Chief of service letter can be filled out by any senior partner or colleague, who can certify that the ABNS diplomate has an unrestricted medical license and hospital privileges.
  • This Chief of service letter will also specifically attest to the following: 1) the diplomate maintains meaningful participation in patient safety training exercises at the diplomate’s institution, and 2) participates in, at least, quarterly Morbidity and Mortality conference (local or national) where the diplomate’s own cases and complications are discussed. If desired, attestation of active participation in the AANS QOD registry project can serve as an alternative to the M&M requirement and can be attested to by the Chief of service at your primary hospital.
  • There is now a requirement that 20 AMA PRA Category 1 CME CreditsTM need to be obtained and submitted annually. It should be noted that some of these credits will be automatically granted as a result of the completion of the cognitive tool.
  • All self and external cognitive assessment will be fulfilled by taking the new CC adaptive learning tool, designed by Dr. Richard Ellenbogen. This tool will keep you up to date on acute issues that may arise when you take a call and satisfies the requirements for coverage at an ACS certified trauma center.

Assessment of knowledge chartThis new online tool can be utilized 24/7 from the diplomate’s own computer. While the content is tailored to update “core neurological surgery” knowledge by focusing on new evidence-based concepts most critical to providing emergency, urgent or critical care, there is also content on endovascular, pediatric and advanced critical care for those participating in the three ABNS/ABMS sponsored recognition of focused practice (RFP) programs.

>THE CHANGE IN 2018 FROM THREE-YEAR MINI-CYCLES TO ANNUAL MINI-CYCLES WAS INTENDED TO MAKE THE CONTINUING CERTIFICATION PROCESS TIMELIER AND MORE RELEVANT, WITHOUT INCREASING THE BURDEN ON DIPLOMATES.< – E. Sander Connolly