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    Quarterly Questions is the new gold standard for board certification

    What are Quarterly Questions?

    Editor’s Note: Welcome to “Eye Catching: Let's Chat,” a blog series featuring contributions from members of the ophthalmic community. These blogs are an opportunity for ophthalmic bloggers to engage with readers with about a topic that is top of mind, whether it is practice management, experiences with patients, the industry, medicine in general, or healthcare reform. The series continues with this blog by Joshua Mali, MD, a vitreoretinal surgeon at The Eye Associates, a private multispecialty ophthalmology practice in Sarasota, FL. The views expressed in these blogs are those of their respective contributors and do not represent the views of Ophthalmology Times or UBM Medica. 

    Dr. MaliDue to the successful pilot year for Quarterly Questions in 2017 (see Dr. Mali's top 5 stories in ophthalmology in 2017), the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO) has announced the program’s adoption as the official assessment pathway for all diplomates for completion of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC).

    Therefore, as of 2019, Quarterly Questions will replace the DOCK (Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge) examination for all diplomates. The ABO is one of the first members of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to adopt this type of MOC assessment program, and is truly a leader among all the ABMS certifying boards in the board-certification process.

    In this article, I will focus on what all board-certified ophthalmologists need to know about the process.

    What are Quarterly Questions?

    The Quarterly Questions program assesses fundamental (“walking around”) knowledge needed in the everyday practice of ophthalmology (40 questions annually), as well as the application of information from five journal articles (10 questions annually). The 40 fundamental knowledge questions—based on the things ophthalmologists see and do every day—should not require preparation in advance.

    However, the journal article questions do require reading five articles from a list of options and answering 10 questions based on the articles’ content.

    Overall, the program is designed to assess the knowledge of practicing ophthalmologists and uses a longitudinal assessment model where a pass/fail decision is made based on diplomate performance over time. This supports the academic ideal of life-long learning and replaces the traditional closed-book comprehensive exam at the end of the 10-year re-certification cycle.

    Joshua Mali, MD
    Joshua Mali, MD, is a vitreoretinal surgeon at The Eye Associates, a private multispecialty ophthalmology practice in Sarasota, Florida.

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