October 8, 2019

ACEP EMI Section Helps to Revise ABPM Clinical Informatics Requirement to Maintain Primary Board Certification

With assistance from the ACEP and ABEM Boards of Directors, the EMI Section leadership petitioned the ABPM Board (primary board for Clinical Informatics) to eliminate the requirement to maintain ABEM board certification in order to maintain Clinical Informatics certification. ABEM board certification is still required (amongst other criteria) to be eligible for initial Clinical Informatics certification, but thereafter maintenance of ABEM board certification is now optional. This change aligns Clinical Informatics with other ABEM subspecialty certifications such as Sports Medicine, Medical Toxicology, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Pediatric Emergency Medicine. This change may also apply to other specialties and anyone in that situation should check with ABPM and their specific primary board. ABEM-certified physicians who have already registered for the fall ConCert exam (Sept 24 – 29) may contact ABEM to discuss options in the event this news changes your plans to take that exam.

While the majority of emergency physicians certified in Clinical Informatics continue to practice clinical emergency medicine (at least on a part-time basis), there is a growing constituency that have chosen to focus solely on informatics and become clinically inactive. Over time, maintaining ABEM certification for this group may be impractical and not relevant to their principal work environment. As previously structured, this requirement may have resulted in the most senior and experienced informatics specialists losing their Clinical Informatics certification by virtue of losing ABEM certification. Clearly this was not desirable for this burgeoning new specialty or for ACEP’s longstanding members.

ACEP members who forego continued ABEM certification will continue to be eligible for ACEP membership and will not lose their Fellow (FACEP) status. There remains significant benefit to ACEP membership for clinical informaticists, even for those who no longer are clinically active. These include CME, networking, EMI Section membership, advocacy, professional resources, and many others.

To be clear, ACEP and ABEM believe that physicians actively involved in the clinical practice of emergency medicine should maintain their primary ABEM certification, regardless of their subspecialty certification. However, following initial subspecialty certification, ABEM certification is now independent of ongoing subspecialty certification, and generally relevant only to the clinical practice of emergency medicine.

Special thanks to ABEM leadership (President Robert L. Muelleman, M.D., and Immediate Past President Terry Kowalenko, M.D.) for shepherding this concept through the ABEM Board and onto ABPM. Also thanks to ACEP President Paul D. Kivela, MD, MBA, FACEP for quick and decisive action on behalf of the EMI Section. And finally, thanks to the ABPM Board for their careful and prompt consideration of this proposal leading to this mutually beneficial change.

EMI Section leaders included Nicholas Genes, MD, PhD, FACEP, Section Chair and Todd B. Taylor, MD, FACEP, project coordinator. Questions may be forwarded here.

Todd B. Taylor, MD, FACEP
Emergency Physician & Independent HIT Consultant
Certified Emergency Medicine, ABEM
Certified Clinical Informatics, ABPM