Published May 17, 2023
Among the things most patients consider before choosing their doctor are proximity, insurance acceptance, information on their website, and recommendations from friends and family. When the physician is a specialist, you may just accept the referral from your primary care doctor. Checking to see if they are a board-certified physician may not be something on your radar at first, but should it be? Let’s review some of the benefits of choosing a board-certified doctor.
What Does Board Certification Actually Mean?
Right now in the United States there are 24 medical specialty boards. To become certified a physician must spend at least 6 years after medical school having supervised in-practice training. Specialists must also complete a written exam in a secure facility and some even require an oral exam.
In the past, these certifications were for life. During the 1970s boards began using time limited certifications usually 10 years in length. Recertification required the same testing to judge clinical knowledge and judgment every 10 years. This is known as maintenance of certification, or MOC, to ensure ongoing professional development.
Some Benefits of Choosing a Board-Certified Doctor
Board certification is optional for physicians, but it shows the highest level of accreditation in a specialty. It encourages doctors to develop their knowledge and skills throughout their career and keep up with the latest advances in medicine. As a patient, you are guaranteed your physician has the knowledge and competency you prefer and can trust.
As an example, if a patient is choosing a specialist to do their surgery, they understand that a board-certified doctor will be up to date on all the new procedures and technologies to perform the procedure. You might be less likely to trust another surgeon who was licensed thirty years ago, but has not been board certified or gone through MOC.
Patients can identify those doctors who are board certified via their website or by visiting this link. You can also talk with your doctor about why they may not be board certified. They may have legitimate reasons. In the end, it is your choice.
If you are looking for peace of mind, the best care, and confidence in your doctor’s skills, look for a board-certified physician.