Physician Board Certification
A board-certified physician has completed an approved educational training program and an evaluation process including an examination designed to assess the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to provide quality patient care in that specialty. A specialty certificate is issued by a medical specialty certifying board, which is valid nationwide. Although certification is not required for an individual physician to practice medicine, most hospitals and managed care organizations require that at least a certain percentage of their staff be “board certified.”Today approximately 89 percent of licensed physicians are certified by one or more ABMS Member Boards (American Board of Medical Specialties).
There are many types of physicians included in the care of breast cancer patients, including medical oncologists, hematologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists specializing in breast imaging, and surgeons. Each of these specialists may be certified by a board in their specialty.
Internal medicine physicians, such as medical oncologists and hematologists, may be certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). The ABIM certificate is recognized throughout the world as signifying excellence in the practice of Internal Medicine, its subspecialties and areas of added qualifications. It demonstrates that a doctor has met vigorous standards through intensive study, self-assessment, and evaluation.
In addition to board certification in Internal Medicine, medical oncologists and hematologists may receive subspecialty certification from the ABIM (American Board of Internal Medicine).
Pathologists may be certified by the American Board of Pathology (ABP). The mission of the ABP, as a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties, is to promote the health of the public by advancing the practice and science of pathology.
The ABP seeks to improve the quality of training and practice of pathology by continual review of the program requirements of graduate training in conjunction with the Residency Review Committee for Pathology (RRC) and by improving the certification process. In this way, the ABP serves the public, the profession, and the individual physician (American Board of Pathology).
Radiologists may be certified by the American Board of Radiology, which certifies medical doctors to practice radiology in North America. Certificates are issued to candidates who have demonstrated their knowledge and proficiency by successfully completing comprehensive written and oral examinations.
Five primary certificates are offered in three fields of radiology: one certificate each for Diagnostic Radiology and Radiation Oncology, and three separate certificates covering Radiologic Physics and its subfields (American Board of Radiology).
Surgeons may be certified by the American Board of Surgery (ABS), an independent, non-profit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying surgeons who have met a defined standard of education, training, and knowledge.
Surgeons certified by the ABS, known as diplomates, have completed a minimum of five years of surgical training and successfully completed a written and oral examination process. The ABS currently certifies surgeons in the following fields: general surgery, pediatric surgery, vascular surgery, surgical critical care, and surgery of the hand (American Board of Surgery).
The UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute requires certification for all physicians in the following medical specialties:
- Medical Oncologist
- Radiation Oncologist
- Radiologist Specializing in Breast Imaging