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Become a member and receive career-enhancing benefits

Our top priority is providing value to members. Your Member Services team is here to ensure you maximize your ACS member benefits, participate in College activities, and engage with your ACS colleagues. It's all here.

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ACS Advisory Councils

American Board of Urology Launches Pilot on Continuing Urologic Certification

September 20, 2022

Editor’s note: The 14 ACS Advisory Councils, which serve as liaisons in the communication of information to and from surgical societies and the Regents, periodically submit articles on the notable initiatives taking place in their respective specialties. This week’s issue features a submission from the Advisory Council for Urology.

 

Since 1985, all American Board of Urology (ABU) diplomates that have been certified in urology maintain a time-limited certificate. Diplomates automatically enter Lifelong Learning, currently a 10-year cycle for continued certification. However, the American Board of Medical Specialties recently developed new standards requiring that all member boards develop a formative program for continued certification that results in a summative decision regarding a diplomate status at least every 5 years. In addition, the ABU recognized that diplomates are exposed to a considerable burden as they prepare for and take the current 10-year knowledge assessment exam, which is only offered in a secure environment. These factors, along with technological advances, influenced the ABU to evolve Lifelong Learning into Continuing Urologic Certification (CUC), a program that captures many of the positive attributes utilized by other surgical boards.

CUC contains all the current ABU activities required in Lifelong Learning, spacing the activities over time to decrease the burden of “last-minute” completion. Most significantly, the 10-year Knowledge Assessment Exam, undertaken in a secure environment, has transitioned to a three-phase formative educational process repeated every 5 years. 

Three distinct elements comprise the CUC:

  • Knowledge Reinforcement (year 1 and year 3) is a memory challenge utilizing 40 questions that the diplomate completes on their own schedule and in their own environment.
  • Knowledge Exposure (years 2 and year 4) is an activity that brings the diplomate up to date regarding changes in guidelines, or contemporary articles that have been published and are decided to have an impact on providing urologic care. Through a partnership with the American Urologic Association, the diplomate may choose to receive Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit while completing Knowledge Exposure.
  • Knowledge Assessment (year 5) is a 90-question exam taken in the diplomate’s own environment. Knowledge Assessment identifies gaps in knowledge and helps direct a diplomate to individualized CME activities when needed. An important element of the CUC program is that Diplomates who maintain an average score above a defined threshold for Knowledge Reinforcement and Exposure can opt out of the Knowledge Assessment exam.

Ultimately, the ABU makes a summative decision regarding continuing certification based on completing all activities within CUC including any needed CME, peer review, submitting complication and mortality narratives, and evaluation of a practice log.

The CUC pilot is now in its second year, and the ABU has received a positive endorsement of the CUC pilot from participating diplomates. The Board is using diplomates’ constructive comments to refine and evolve Lifelong Learning. 

In-depth information regarding the ABU CUC can be found at  Continuing Urologic Certification (CUC).