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Limit recertification to subspecialty.

Subspecialists should be required to recertify only in their own subspecialty ("Some Subspecialists Only Recertifying in Own Field," May 15, 2005, p. 70).

Further, I think this should be done through take-home modules that we can complete at our own pace.

The idea behind recert is for us to keep our knowledge and practice current. General medicine MDs who do core internal medicine every day say that they feel the test questions are often esoteric and do not have much to do with the actual practice of medicine. And the answers can be different based on who wrote the question, whether they were looking for last year's information (when the test was made) or last month's information (when a new article stated something different), etc.

Most subspecialists practice with some internal medicine that is related. But to ask every subspecialist to keep up with every advancement in every field including their own becomes impossible.

Physicians send their patients to us because they think we know more about a certain aspect of medicine than they do. To be a good doctor--general or specialist--one has to have gained a good fundamental knowledge of medicine during medical school and residency. Hence, I feel that the time commitment, stress, and cost of certifying in both internal medicine and a subspecialty do not achieve the goal of making better, more updated physicians.

Also, the physicians who certified many years ago and are still practicing are not asked to recertify in medicine!

Recertification in one's own subspecialty should be done through required CME from subspecialty meetings and realistic test questions that can be completed in an open book/literature search fashion. A sit-down exam in a hall is not what I look forward to when I am 50, 60, or 70!

Lily Agrawal, M.D.

Downers Grove, Ill.
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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Agrawal, Lily
Publication:Internal Medicine News
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jul 15, 2005
Words:302
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