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Westby G. Fisher, MD, FACC is a board certified internist, cardiologist, and cardiac electrophysiologist  practicing at NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston, IL, USA and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine.  This is his blog.  And here was an entry that we should ALL heed:

Why I Won’t Give ABIM My Practice Data

I recently received an email from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) requesting that I complete my “Practice Characteristics profile” on their website “which is required for ABIM board certified physicians participating in Maintenance of Certification (MOC).” Specifically, the survey stated that the information was “to identify similar types of practices for research purposes.” The survey included a requirement to enter data on:

  • the percentage of time I spent in various clinical and non-clincal activities,
  • the numbers of various types of procedures I performed
  • the amount of professional time I spend reading EKGs, echos, diagnostic catheterizations, nuclear scans, CT’s, MRIs and vascular imaging
  • the number of adult congenital, cardiac transplant and peripheral vascular patients I see
  • and whether my institution requires MOC in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Diseases or Cardiac Electrophysiology for maintaining my credentials

But when the ABIM’s own privacy statement declares these data are for research, maintains this data indefinitely, and can send this data “to companies who work on our behalf to provide a product or service to you” and then can transfer this personal data to control of a third party in the event of a merger, this is no small issue.

You see, when a non-profit physician testing organization is affiliated in some bizarre way with a second shadow organization with the same officers and address to promote their own version of medical professionalism that purchases $2.3 million dollar condominiums with chauffer-driven town cars with my fees without my knowledge, what other things might they purchase with the income they derive from selling my data or the data supplied by patients about us?

If the ABIM can legally grant funds to any other non-profit organziation (like their “Foundation”) without my knowledge for their own benefit in the name of “professionalism,” will they also transfer my data to that organization? Because if they transfer my data (which, by the way, is a lot harder to track), to another organization without recourse, then I believe all the data they collect and that we must pay to have them collect, no longer qualifies as just a quality assurance project in the name of the “public good” but rather qualifies as research – research they are conducting on behalf of their own version of “public good” that might include the occasional purchase of a luxury condominium.

So sorry ABIM –

My patients and I deserve a better example of “professionalism” that doesn’t potentially violate federal statutes on research practices on me or my patients for your personal gain.

I would encourage others to do the same.


We all need to do this to these crooked boards.  The American Board of Family Medicine is exactly the same.  Fight back.  Remove the MOC!!!

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