Starting in January 2020, the American Board of Radiology will be launching the Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) for boarded medical physicists that participate in Maintenance of Certification (MOC). This ongoing assessment will be a replacement for the 10-year proctored MOC exam. The program was piloted by the ABR in 2019 for Diagnostic Radiology, but will now be rolled out for Medical Physics, Radiation Oncology, and Interventional Radiology starting in 2020 (1).
How does it work?
The ABR will inform physicists via email each week that two questions per specialty certificate (therapy, diagnostic, nuclear medicine) are ready to be answered on the OLA portal. Answering the questions is not mandatory; each question will remain available for four weeks, allowing for flexibility in answering the questions. Over the course of a year, 104 questions will be made available, but only 52 are required to be answered – though you could answer all!
What are the questions like?
The questions are timed, with 1 to 3 minutes allocated depending on the question. They are intended to be of general knowledge to a clinical medical physicist, or as the ABR states, “walking around knowledge.” The content selected should be familiar to the majority of certificate holders. If the content doesn’t apply to your clinical duties, diplomates are allowed to decline up to 10 questions per year. If a question is missed on a particular topic, a follow-up question on the same topic will be posted a few weeks later.
How will I know how I’m doing?
The OLA online portal will provide immediate feedback upon answering each question, along with a brief overview of the content and a link to a relevant resource. The portal will display your performance against the standard, though grading won’t take place until 200 questions are answered (which will take 2-4 years).
Otherwise, the remaining structure of the MOC requirements remain the same:
- Professionalism and Professional Standing
- Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment
- Assessment of Knowledge, Judgment, and Skills (OLA)
- Improvement in Medical Practice
In related ABR news, the categories for the Part 3 oral exam in Therapeutic Medical Physics will be changing for 2020. The new categories and their descriptions are outlined in the image below. For more information and further reference, consult their oral exam content guide.