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From the March ACP Observer, copyright 2005 by the American College of Physicians.

Coming soon: recertification credit for ACP's MKSAP-13

Beginning next month, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) will grant recertifying physicians credit toward maintenance of certification when they complete newly configured electronic modules created from ACP's MKSAP 13.

The ABIM approved the new MKSAP product after confirming that it meets the Board's standards and offers an attractive option for physicians involved in the maintenance of certification process. Starting in April, physicians who successfully answer up to a maximum of four new MKSAP modules will receive credit for completing the corresponding number of self-evaluation modules that are required for maintenance of certification.

"MKSAP is a highly respected self-evaluation program that meets the learning needs of some diplomates," said F. Daniel Duffy, MACP, ABIM's executive vice president, who pointed out that the MKSAP modules will be tightly linked to relevant educational information. "The Board has listened to diplomates' requests for multiple options for maintenance of certification."

Four specially selected MKSAP question modules—each containing 60 questions—will be available online. Current MKSAP subscribers will be able to download and complete these modules at no additional charge.

Physicians enrolled in ABIM's maintenance of certification program can electronically submit answers to MKSAP-module questions—and receive immediate feedback on whether they supplied the right answer, another key feature of the new option. When physicians correctly answer a question, they'll receive a critique and a discussion of that question, as well as a link to corresponding educational material.

Physicians who incorrectly answer a question will receive links to relevant MKSAP text and be allowed another chance to answer. Physicians using the MKSAP-module option will not have to complete all 60 questions at one sitting, but can complete them at their leisure. When they do complete a module, physicians will receive feedback on how their answers compared to those who pre-tested the module. That information may help them prepare for the ABIM's secure exam.

"By providing recertification credit for MKSAP modules, ACP and the ABIM hope to maximize the efficiency and the educational value of the maintenance of certification process for physicians," said Steven E. Weinberger, FACP, the College's Senior Vice President for Medical Knowledge and Education. "We think this new MKSAP option provides a particularly convenient, effective and attractive way to link self-assessment with education, while simultaneously helping physicians prepare for the secure examination."

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March is DVT Awareness Month

Internists are encouraged to educate patients about the dangers and symptoms of deep-vein thrombosis (DVT) during DVT Awareness Month. In addition to looking out for common risk factors, such as smoking and obesity, internists should pay attention to other risk factors that are often overlooked.

"Patients over age 40 who have an acute medical illness and require hospitalization may be at increased risk," said Robert C. Lavender, FACP, the College's representative to the Coalition to Prevent Deep-Vein Thrombosis. Resources including DVT treatment guidelines are on the Society of Hospital Medicine's Web site.

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New Medicare demonstration project will reward doctors for quality

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced the launch of Medicare's new pay-for-performance demonstration program to reward physicians in large groups for improving care while holding down costs.

Beginning April 1, 10 large groups will be measured on 32 quality indicators that focus on congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus and hypertension, as well as on preventive services. A list of the quality measures being used is online. Participating groups include:

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, Bedford, N.H.
Deaconess Billings Clinic, Billings, Mont.
Everett Clinic, Everett, Wash.
Forsyth Medical Group, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Geisinger Health System, Danville, Pa.
Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield, Wis.
Middlesex Health System, Middletown, Conn.
Park Nicollet Health Services, St. Louis Park, Minn.
St. John's Health System, Springfield, Mo.
University of Michigan Faculty Group Practice, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Annual Session to feature immunization demo

Physicians attending this year's Annual Session are invited to a hands-on demonstration of "Put ACASA Into Practice!," ACP's immunization quality improvement program. The demonstration will be held Friday, April 15, at Annual Session 2005 in San Francisco.

"Put ACASA Into Practice!" is a team-oriented, practice-based program to help physicians and staff improve their delivery of influenza and pneumococcal immunization services. The College project uses the Adult Clinical Assessment Software Application (ACASA), a free database program developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to assess a practice's immunization levels, produce reports to help pinpoint service delivery problems and improve the quality of patient care.

More information about ACASA training, which is also available at ACP headquarters in Philadelphia, is online. A free download of ACASA software also is online.

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Wanted: workshop proposals for Annual Session 2006

The ACP Clinical Skills Subcommittee is now accepting proposals for interactive skills workshops to be presented at Annual Session 2006. Applications with proposals must be received by April 1, 2005.

The subcommittee places a high priority on interactive workshops designed to help physicians acquire or improve skills in physical examination, communication or specific procedures.

Annual Session 2006 will be held in Philadelphia April 6-8, 2006. For more information, see links under "Annual Session 2006 Request for Proposals."

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