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American Board of Cosmetic Surgery Examines 2020 Candidate Surgeons Virtually

The credentialing board enlisted the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners to adapt its qualifying exam to the virtual space

October 8, 2020

The credentialing board enlisted the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners to adapt its qualifying exam to the virtual space.

CHICAGO, IL Pandemic-driven necessity has led to new innovation in medical examinations, as proven by a recent collaboration between the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS) and the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME). The ABCS, a credentialing board for surgeons specializing in cosmetic medicine and surgery, needed to find a physically-distanced way to hold its annual exam, which is usually conducted in-person. By collaborating with NBOME, they built an equally rigorous board certification exam that can be virtually delivered and assessed.

The testing experts at NBOME collaborate with numerous organizations, using a breadth of cutting-edge medical credential examination processes and technologies. The NBOME analyzed what processes would be needed to realize the ABCS’s goals for the examination, including confidentiality, private interview spaces, “movement” through the exam, and secure online scoring. They then created a virtual testing center and file sharing option that could accommodate these needs and worked behind the scenes to transition examiners and candidates throughout the examination, allowing participants to focus on the work of interviewing and being interviewed. The exam thus met the high standards of the ABCS while working seamlessly for all involved.

ABCS President Dr. Wilbur Hah praised the NBOME testing administrators’ work customizing their technology to support the ABCS’s rigorous exam process. He credited the success, in part, to the collaborative relationship between the two organizations.

“Having an established relationship with NBOME allowed us to dive into the process of adapting our exam as soon as it became clear that the pandemic would require us to take a different approach,” said Dr. Hah. “Board certification is core to our mission of promoting the safe and ethical practice of cosmetic surgery, and we are pleased to continue our work without interruption.”

“We love to innovate and find collaboration with our strategic partners a great opportunity to do so,” shared Gretta A. Gross, DO, MEd, Vice President for Clinical Skills Testing. “For the ABCS, we were able to start with their in-person examination processes and develop a virtual solution around it, all while keeping their mission and goal of providing a valid examination at the forefront of the process.”

With an ever-increasing demand for cosmetic procedures that has persisted through the pandemic, American Board of Cosmetic Surgery board certification remains a critical signal to patients, proving a surgeon’s knowledge and experience. Prior to undergoing the examination process, surgeons must have a primary board certification in a surgical specialty and then complete a cosmetic surgery fellowship, including performing 300 or more cosmetic procedures. ABCS certification goes beyond training and examination: it also requires diplomates to operate only in accredited facilities, prioritize patient safety at all times, and meet strict standards for conduct.

In a time when those working in telemedicine and education struggle to translate high standards to the virtual space, the organizations were celebratory. Dr. Hah surveyed the board members who served as examiners: “Would they give the exam virtually again?” While all said they missed the camaraderie afforded by the annual in-person gathering, the answer was a resounding “yes.”

NBOME Partners with ABCS on Successful Transition to a Virtual Exam