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CATALYST: Transforming Physicians’ Assessment into Learning

Horber DT, Waters S.  CATALYST: Transforming Physicians’ Assessment into Learning.  Presentation delivered the 2019 Meeting of the American Board of Medical Specialties, Chicago, IL, September 2019.


Session Summary

For years, physicians have criticized maintenance of certification as an ineffective requirement that is irrelevant to practice and cost-prohibitive. In response, several specialty Boards have implemented longitudinal assessment formats to ensure continuing physician competency. The National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) has developed CATALYST, an assessment platform supported by findings from cognitive learning that emphasize the value of retrieving previously learned content, providing immediate feedback, spacing questions over time, and interleaving topics in order to produce more complex and durable learning.

During 2017 and 2018, in conjunction with the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the NBOME conducted 16-week pilot studies with three osteopathic specialty boards. Results provided overwhelming support for the CATALYST assessment platform: of the 196 diplomates surveyed, 95% agreed or strongly agreed that CATALYST would help them stay current in their specialties and over 98% preferred the CATALYST format to traditional Board examinations. A significant pilot finding was that different specialty Boards have different requirements and expectations, as did the physicians within the specialty. In order to provide greater customization within CATALYST, the NBOME is implementing a new CATALYST platform, with a follow-up study.

The presentation will describe CATALYST as an assessment format, summarize NBOME’s development path including the new platform and pilot outcomes, and describe alternative uses for CATALYST. Lessons learned from this journey and planned next steps will provide insights to organizations seeking alternative modes of ongoing physician assessment. Audience participation and questions will be encouraged


Learning Objectives

By attending this presentation, attendees will be able to:
• Describe CATALYST’s basis in cognitive learning theory
• Summarize the outcomes reported in the CATALYST pilot studies
• Describe next steps for CATALYST

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