Michael Parchman, MD

MacColl Director Michael Parchman will join the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) at its headquarters next week to launch an effort to redesign the process used by family physicians to maintain their specialty certification.

The TRADEMaRQ study (TRial of Aggregate Data Exchange for Maintenance of certification and Raising Quality) will test a new way of supporting family physicians in the completion of professional requirements that will link to better care for the patients in their practices.

 “We’re hoping to show how provider recertification requirements in the US can shift from data collection to something that has a real chance to improve the quality of patient care.  We also look forward to decreasing documentation burden on family physicians”, says Dr. Parchman.

After receiving their medical license via an accredited institution in the United States, family physicians must regularly recertify (“maintenance of certification, or MOC) through ABFM.  It’s a four-part process that includes modules focused on continuing medical education and quality improvement.  In the current MOC format, physicians collect data used in the QI module from patient charts.  They must then enter these data into the recertification documentation, sometimes multiple times.  There is no easy nor secure and automated way to transmit these data across multiple reporting forms, and it is a time-consuming, duplicative task that pulls doctors away from their patients.

The physicians randomized by the study for the intervention will have the ABFM recertification data collected automatically from electronic medical records and securely uploaded into the Board’s QI and self-assessment modules.  For the first time, two separate MOC areas will be linked and in relation to one another.  Providers will be freed from undue reporting and offered learning options that correspond to areas of care targeted as improvement opportunities in their real-life patient panels.

Two January 2015 New England Journal of Medicine perspective pieces focus on the current state of maintenance of certification:  point and counterpoint.

We believe our study represents an important step towards broader and more regular measurement of provider quality, as well as reduction of burden that’s currently placed on family physicians to collect and report on quality measures.

TRADEMaRQ is a partnership with Group Health, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, the Oregon Community Health Information Network, and South East Texas Medical Associates.  Participation in the TRADEMaRQ study is limited to physicians practicing at Group Health, OCHIN, Kaiser Colorado and South East Texas Medical Associates.  The three-year study is being jointly funded by the American Board of Family Medicine Foundation and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.