Membership Hack: An App for Maintaining Credentials

An app from the American Board of Anesthesiology assesses members on their professional knowledge year-round to help them maintain their certification, replacing its traditional exam.

How to hack it? Busy professionals need learning and assessment opportunities that fit in their packed schedules. For those required to maintain a certification, setting aside time for a formal exam can be challenging. That’s why the American Board of Anesthesiology turned to an assessment tool that quizzes members more frequently and in smaller bursts online or on their smartphones.

Last year, ABA replaced its Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology (MOCA) examination with the MOCA Minute app. Instead of taking the exam once every 10 years, anesthesiologists maintain their certification by meeting performance standards in the app. The program requires them to answer 120 multiple-choice questions per year.

Why does it work? “The value of MOCA Minute is that it promotes continuous assessment and guides anesthesiologists’ lifelong learning by providing immediate feedback that helps identify areas where they may want to pursue more intensive study,” said ABA Secretary Deborah J. Culley, M.D., in a media release. “Additionally, we can gauge the performance of the entire population of board-certified anesthesiologists to identify how much knowledge is acquired and maintained over time.”

Anesthesiologists have responded positively to the program. In a 2017 pilot, 77 percent of respondents surveyed said MOCA Minute served them somewhat or very well as an assessment tool. And a study of participants in an earlier pilot showed that they performed better on subsequent exams than those who didn’t use the app.

What’s the bonus? MOCA Minute’s early success is serving as a model for other medical boards. According to ABA, nearly all members of the American Board of Medical Specialties are either piloting or considering developing some form of interactive longitudinal assessment.

(Vimeo screenshot)

Tim Ebner

By Tim Ebner

Tim Ebner is a senior editor for Associations Now. He covers membership, leadership, and governance issues. Email him with story ideas or news tips. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!