The American Board of Pediatrics knows for a fact that board-certified pediatricians have sufficient knowledge and skills to practice their profession effectively. However, they also recognize the reality that the ever-changing world of medical science has created gaps in the quality of care provided to children. This is exactly why the board strongly supports the certification retention program offered to pediatricians. This way, they can ensure that their medical professionals are committed to continuing medical education and improving their skills and knowledge in treating the common and rare diseases that afflict their patients.

The pediatrician certification retention program covers four major parts: professional status and licensing, lifelong learning and self-assessment, cognitive proficiency or secure exam, and performance in practice. Each part must be successfully completed by a Pediatric Diplomat to complete the 10-year cycle of the Pediatrician MOC.

Part I: Professional position and license

In order for a physician to maintain their certification, they must be licensed in good standing. Physicians must have a valid, unrestricted medical license in the United States or Canada. Those physicians who do not practice in Canada or any state of the United States and its territories must provide valid proof of licensure from the country in which the physician practices. If a physician holds more than one license, all of his licenses must meet the requirements.

Part II: Lifelong learning and self-assessment

The purpose of Part II of the certification retention program is to ensure that pediatricians continually improve their clinical knowledge, judgment, and skills. To meet this requirement, an applicant must participate in continuing medical education activities approved by the American Board of Pediatrics.

Part III: Cognitive Competence (Safe Examination)

In order for a pediatrician to maintain their certification, they must take and pass a safe exam. Passing this exam is required every 10 years. There are approximately 200 questions in this test which is conducted six days a week from January to June and September to December. You definitely need to prepare yourself for this test and pass it; you can take advantage of the continuing medical education activities you participated in in the second part of the MOC program. This is one reason why it is very important for medical professionals to take CME activities seriously.

Part IV: Performance in practice

A medical professional should not only excel academically, or in theory, they must also be passionate about translating that knowledge into clinical practice. Therefore, the final part of the certification retention program requires pediatricians to demonstrate competency in patient care. There are two ways to evaluate your own performance: quality improvement and patient survey. For quality improvement, you can participate in established quality improvement (QI) projects or web-based improvement activities. On the other hand, patient surveys allow parents and patients to have a say in the performance of their pediatrician; after all, they are the direct beneficiaries of everything their pediatrician learns from the MOC program and continuing medical education.

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