Awareness of and participation in maintenance of professional certification: A prospective study

Elizabeth A. Bower, Dongseok Choi, Thomas M. Becker, Donald E. Girard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Introduction: National health care concerns have led to the emergence of maintenance of certification (MOC) as a means to ensure the competence of practicing physicians. Little is known about physician perceptions of the barriers and/or benefits of MOC or proportions of physicians who participate in MOC programs. The purposes of this study were to assess physicians' plans for participating in MOC and to identify influences on decisions to participate. Methods: A geographically stratified, random sample of 755 licensed practicing physicians in the state of Oregon were surveyed regarding certification status, awareness of MOC requirements, influences on decision to participate in MOC, and resources available and/or desired to assist with MOC. Results: Three hundred seventy-six of 755 surveys were returned for ±5% margin of error at 95% confidence level. Of the respondents 91% were board certified; 95% with time-limited certificates planned to recertify. Factors rated "extremely important" in decisions to recertify were to "demonstrate expertise in my specialty" (50%), to "demonstrate my medical knowledge is up to date" (52%), and to "demonstrate my competency to provide patient care in my specialty" (51%). Practice groups provided physicians with few resources for MOC; 29% report that their practices provided no resources for the MOC process. Discussion: These results are important for hospitals, medical institutions, medical educators, and CME program planners. Although the large majority of physicians with time-limited certificates plan to participate in maintenance of certification, lack of some resources (time, money, and administrative support) and reluctance to utilize others (systems-based care) are identified as barriers to the success of MOC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-172
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Continuing medical education
  • Maintenance of certification
  • Needs assessment
  • Recertification
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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