Understanding Maintenance of Certification: Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning

December 5, 2008


This is the third in a series of articles on the requirements of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and how they affect neurologists.

What does the ABPN require for the Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning component of MOC?

Diplomates of the ABPN are required to participate in at least two major, broad-based self-assessment activities during the 10-year MOC cycle. One self-assessment activity must be completed during years one to three of the 10-year MOC cycle and another self-assessment activity must be completed during years six to eight of the 10-year MOC cycle.

The self-assessment activities must cover new knowledge and/or current best practices in one or more of the required competency areas in a single assessment or several combined assessments and total at least 100 questions. The self-assessment activity must provide feedback to the diplomate that can be used as the basis for focused CME, lifelong learning, and/or career development.

Self-assessment activities approved by the ABPN for this purpose include:

  • AAN NeuroSAE (Neurology Self-Assessment Examination): Fulfills 100 questions
  • Post-reading questions from Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology®: Fulfills 40 questions per issue
  • Quintessentials program modules: Fulfills 30 to 45 questions per issue
  • American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) Self-Assessment examination: Fulfills 100 questions

Lifelong Learning (CME) Activities

Diplomates of the ABPN are required to complete an average of 30 specialty or subspecialty Category 1 CME credits per year over the 10-year MOC cycle. CME activities must be accredited by ACCME or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and CME must be relevant to the specialty in which the diplomate is certified. Diplomates certified in more than one area only need to accrue an average of 30 CME credits per year, as the same CME credits can be used to satisfy the MOC requirements for multiple specialties and subspecialties.

When the ABPN MOC program is fully implemented, diplomates of the ABPN are required to complete 150 specialty or subspecialty specific, Category 1, CME credits in each of the two five-year blocks of the 10-year MOC cycle for a total of 300 CME credits.

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) has approved the following activities for Category 1 CME as part of a comprehensive lifelong learning program, which is mandated by the American Board of Medical Specialties as a necessary component of MOC:

  • AAN 2009 Winter Conference in Orlando: Up to 19.5 hours
  • AAN 2009 Annual Meeting in Seattle
  • Continuum: Up to 10 hours per issue
  • Quintessentials: Up to three hours per issue

How do I track my CME?

The CME Tracker is a new tool on the AAN website which allows for quick and easy input of your non-AAN CME credits earned. These credits can then be tracked along with AAN CME credits, which are automatically entered for all AAN members. Use the tool to generate your AAN CME transcript or start adding non-AAN CME credits.

For more information about MOC, visit the ABPN website or contact Trish Tivnan at PTivnan@abpn.com. If you have questions regarding the AAN's education offerings related to MOC, contact Susan Rodmyre at srodmyre@aan.com or (651) 695-2725.

Previous articles in this series

Understand Maintenance of Certification: Professional Standing

Get to Know the ABPN Requirements for Maintenance of Certification