An August 2010 article in Physicians Practice magazine questions whether board certification of doctors is overrated. The article points out that board certification provides a guarantee of a certain level of knowledge and that recent board certified doctors are required to maintain that certification with periodic examination over time. The article also pointed out that studies have not found definitive evidence that seeing a board certified physician results in better outcomes than seeing a doctor who isn’t board certified.
No study will probably ever show a big difference between board certified and non-board certified physicians, perhaps in part because the great majority of U.S. physicians are board certified. We can almost take for granted that U.S. physicians practice within the scope of their training because of the existing certification system.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is a supervising board that oversees the board certification of 24 medical specialty boards. You can find out if a doctor is board certified at their Web site www.abms.org. You can learn more about board certification by listening to the conversation I had with Dr. Kevin Weiss, President of the ABMS , on Web Talk Radio.