Perceptions of Radiology MOC

In August, the results of a large ACR survey about radiologists’ opinions concerning MOC were released. The summary:

Similar proportions judged the existing program as excellent or very good (36%), or fair or poor (35%), with 27% neutral. MOC–CC was perceived more often as excellent or very good by those who were grandfathered yet still participating in MOC, were in academic practice, were in an urban setting, were older, or had a role with the ABR. In contrast, MOC–CC was more often judged as fair or poor by those who were not grandfathered, were in private practice, were in a rural setting, or were younger.

It’s a pretty sharp divide. Perhaps it is no great surprise that ABR volunteers and grandfathered academics are among those who view the ABR’s offering most favorably. The whole paper is worth a read, and the survey construction itself was very involved.

I’m not personally involved in any of this work, but the story behind why the survey even occurred (which I’m relaying secondhand) is perhaps the most interesting part.

If you recall, there was an ACR Taskforce on Certification in Radiology that was initially authorized in 2019 and concluded in 2020. You can read my highlights and analysis of their work here.

You also might not recall said task force, because their work apparently marks the only time in history that the ACR Board of Chancellors voted against authorizing a task force to submit their findings as a paper to the JACR. What could have been a paper shared with the broader radiology community was instead buried in a lonely random corner of the ACR website.

This is politics at work, of course.

Behind the scenes, the executive committee asked the task force to water down their language and conclusions, remove certain points, and generally “be nice.” The ACR, trying to repair some historically sour relationships with other radiology societies, didn’t want to be mean to the ABR. It probably doesn’t help when inbred leadership positions across multiple societies read like a game of musical chairs. It was apparently after multiple rounds of softening edits that the task force report was eventually buried anyway.

As a consolation, the board did permit a next-step survey in order to ascertain the true feelings of the radiology community (and not just the task force’s presumably squeaky wheels). The ACR used an outside consultant to help generate a fair survey, and then at the subsequent request of leadership, all “irrelevant” questions concerning the ongoing lawsuit, handling of COVID-19/testing delays, and the kerfuffle over the MOC agreement, etc were excised.

The survey results paper was initially submitted to JACR in 2021 and was–as you may have surmised–also rejected (though please note that the JACR is editorially independent). Much back and forth ensued–largely in order to limit perceived “bias against the ABR”–and the paper you see was finally published a year later.

In the end, thanks to editorial assistance, the limitations section is longer than the neutered discussion.

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