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Understanding board certification

| Dec 12, 2017 | Surgical Errors

Most in Queens, while perhaps not familiar with the exact meaning, at the very least understand the concept of board certification when it comes to physicians. That understanding may prompt most to only consider board-certified doctors when researching their provider options. The assumption is that only board-certified doctors have been approved to practice within a certain medical discipline. Thus, why would one consider seeing a doctor that has not been given that approval? Yet this is where the difference between having an understanding of this idea and knowing what it actually means comes into play. 

Doctors become eligible to practice medicine when they become licensed by the state in which they work following the completion of medical school and the appropriate residencies. Once licensed, doctors can practice within a medical specialty without being board certified. According to the American Board of Medical Specialties, board certification is a completely voluntary process. Whereas licensure signifies that a doctor has met the minimum competency requirements in order to practice, board certification means he or she has followed peer-developed standards in order to demonstrate expertise. 

Knowing this, one might think that board certified physicians are able to produce much better results than those that have not met those standards. However, data shared by U.S. News & World Report states that no evidence exists that suggests that board certification has an impact on patient outcomes. This seems to imply that a doctor that is not certified, along with being able to practice in a certain specialty, may be able to perform equally as well as one who is. There are some who even suggest that maintaining board certification may even place an unnecessary burden on doctors already required to participate in continuing education in order to retain their licenses. 

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