Say “maintenance of certification” in a room full of clinical specialists and watch them cringe. Required for physicians to remain board-certified in a specialty, MOC continues to be a hot-button issue across all specialty care fields. More recently, it’s at the center of protest, and increasingly, legislation. Scott Wallace, leading authority on value-based health care delivery models, agrees the current model of periodic demonstrations of knowledge is broken – and argues closed-book, decennial exams should be replaced with outcome measurement.

As he explained in a recent journal article, the purpose of continuous certification must be to accelerate improvement and learning, supporting the professionalism of physicians while recognizing their unique role as healers. And that isn’t achieved via static tests or policy changes. Expertise, after all, is demonstrated through results, not assessment scores or process compliance.

The path forward will be based on measuring the health outcomes of care and using those outcomes to guide learning and improvement. “Every good clinician already gathers information from patients about the outcomes most meaningful to those patients,” says Wallace, associate professor and the managing director of the Value Institute for Health and Care at the University of Texas at Austin’s Dell Medical School. “The incremental step is to record those outcomes longitudinally, an activity that can fit naturally into the flow of clinical medicine. A further step will be to use that information to improve expertise.”

Like every other aspect of medicine, MOC must continue to evolve. To learn more about Wallace’s vision for the future of MOC, read his article and contact us to discuss how he can help your organization begin to apply best practices in outcome measurement.