August 25, 2016

Anesthesiology Publishes ABA Research on 2014 MOCA Minute® Pilot

Diplomates who Actively Participated in Initial Pilot Outperformed Non-participants

Raleigh, N.C. (Aug. 25, 2016) – A study conducted by the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) found active participation in the MOCA Minute® improved diplomates’ performance on the Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology (MOCA®) Cognitive Examination. In 2014, the ABA first piloted the MOCA Minute, a web-based tool that encourages anesthesiologists to frequently assess and improve their knowledge by answering a series of questions related to clinical practice. Participants received immediate feedback and links to learning resources.

The study, published today in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, used results on the once-every-10-year MOCA exam as an overall assessment of knowledge to see if participating in the MOCA Minute pilot would improve performance.  It tracked the scores of 1,300 diplomates who took the exam for the first time in July 2014 or January 2015. Approximately half of the diplomates taking the two exams enrolled in the pilot. After controlling for other factors that could affect diplomates’ performance on the exam, diplomates who actively participated in the initial pilot scored about 10 points higher on both administrations of the exam than those who did not participate.  In addition, a majority of participating diplomates expressed positive attitudes toward the MOCA Minute tool.

The ABA began piloting MOCA Minute to replace the MOCA exam in January 2016. In this expanded pilot, diplomates must now answer 30 questions per quarter or 120 per year to fulfill their MOCA Part 3: Assessment of Knowledge, Judgment, and Skills requirement.  MOCA Minute allows diplomates to customize their questions based on their practice areas (questions focused on the subspecialties are set to launch in January 2017) and to identify gaps in their knowledge. It also allows the Board to aid diplomates in keeping their knowledge current and to rapidly disseminate new knowledge through questions related to emerging clinical topics, like the Zika virus epidemic.

Inspired by the ABA’s longitudinal assessment pilot, others in the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) community are piloting similar tools. The ABMS announced in April the launch of CertLink™, a new web-based assessment platform that will leverage smart mobile technology to explore new assessment approaches. Several medical specialty Member Boards plan to use CertLink to launch their own pilots. The American Board of Pediatrics will launch a pilot of its new testing platform, MOCA-Peds, in January 2017, and the American Board of Radiology is developing its own online longitudinal assessment tool, which may be launched as early as mid-2019.

Research has shown that frequent assessments that require information retrieval, interleaving of topics and spaced study, like that offered by the ABA’s MOCA Minute, are more effective than infrequent, high-stakes exams for long-term knowledge retention. The ABA will continue to survey its diplomates, research MOCA Minute performance data and collaborate with the ABMS Member Board community to study the impact of its new longitudinal assessment tool on diplomates’ knowledge retention.

ABA Media Contact
Michelle Taylor
Director of Marketing and Communications

About the American Board of Anesthesiology
The mission of the American Board of Anesthesiology® (ABA) is to advance the highest standards of the practice of anesthesiology. As the certifying body for anesthesiologists since 1938, the ABA is committed to partnering with physicians to advance lifelong learning and exceptional patient care. The Board administers primary and subspecialty certification exams as well as the Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology Program® (MOCA®), which is designed to promote lifelong learning, a commitment to quality clinical outcomes and patient safety. Based in Raleigh, N.C., the ABA is a nonprofit organization and a Member Board of the American Board of Medical Subspecialties (ABMS).