Association Between Board Certification, Maintenance of Certification, and Surgical Complications in the United States

Tim Xu, Ambar Mehta, Angela Park, Martin A Makary, David W. Price

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Physician credentialing processes aim to improve patient safety and quality, but little research has examined their direct relationship with surgical outcomes. Using national Medicare claims for 2009 to 2013, the authors studied the association between board certification and completion of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements and surgeon rates of complications for 8 elective procedures. Exemplar surgeons were defined as those in the lowest decile of complication rates, and outlier surgeons were those in the highest decile. The analysis included 1.9 million procedures performed by 14 598 surgeons (64% orthopedics, 17% general surgery, 11% urology, 7% neurosurgery). Board-certified surgeons were less likely to be outliers (odds ratio 0.79 [0.66-0.94]). However, completion of MOC was not associated with differences in complication rates in orthopedic surgery or urology. Incorporating additional assessment methods into MOC, such as video evaluation of technical skills, retraining on state-of-the-art care, and peer review, may facilitate further improvements in surgical quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • board certification
  • health policy
  • maintenance of certification
  • surgical quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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