ABMS FAQ'S

FAQs About Board Certification

If you have questions about the Is Your Doctor Board Certified? search feature, please visit the Search FAQs page >

Public Display of MOC Information

Verifying Certification

How do I perform a physician search on CertificationMatters.org?
Access the online search service in the
Is Your Doctor Certified? section of this website. Enter your search criteria and click on the search button. If you are already logged in, you will see your results immediately. Otherwise, you will be asked to identify whether you are a returning or new user. You can either enter your email and password as a returning user, or create a new account. Once you have logged on to the site, you will stay logged in for 90 days.

You may search by any combination of search criteria. There are no required fields for searching, though the search must be performed by at least one criterion. The more information you are able to provide, the better your search results will be. Physician Search Results are provided as a list of names based on the criteria you provide, and will be limited to the first 200 records that match your criteria. A physician report is viewed by clicking on a specific physician's name within the Physician Search Results list.

How can I verify a doctor's Board Certification for personal use?
Our online verification service is available for personal use by consumers to research physicians. You will be asked to register for the service by typing in some basic information. To verify a physician's Board Certification status, simply go to www.CertificationMatters.org, enter your search criteria and click on the search button. If you are already logged in, you will see your results immediately; otherwise, you will be asked to identify whether you are a new or returning user. You can either enter your e-mail and password as a returning user or create a new account. Once you have logged on to the site, you will stay logged in for 90 days.

Our toll-free service can be reached by calling 1-866-ASK-ABMS (1-866-275-2267).

You can look up information in the Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists which can be found in many medical and public libraries.

How can I verify a doctor's Board Certification for professional use?
Board Certification information contained in the "Is Your Doctor Certified" search feature is officially recognized ABMS data. Individuals listed are currently certified in the areas of specialization and sub-specialization as noted. Commercial use of such data, for example to satisfy National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and The Joint Commission (TJC) requirements, generally requires not only verification of Board Certification, but also the dates of Board Certification. ABMS makes primary source data available in online services available from licensed partners. Information from these online services is accepted by TJC, NCQA, URAC and other accrediting organizations. Please contact our partners for additional information on their offerings:

Elsevier, publishes of Board Certified Docs
http://www.boardcertifieddocs.com
1-800-523-1649, ext 3276
h.licensing@elsevier.com

CertiFACTS Online
http://www.certifacts.org 
1-800-733-2267
dcoursey@ABMSsolutions.com

What does it mean if my online search did not return any results?
There could be many reasons why a physician does not appear following a search. It could mean that:

  1. The doctor may not be Board Certified by an ABMS Member Board
  2. The physician may not have an active certification from an ABMS Member Board
  3. The profile may not be available because the physician requested that their information be kept private

First, check the spelling of the doctor's name and the location criteria as these are often common reasons for information not being returned. You can also check again at a later time in the event the information has not yet been updated. In the case of newly certified physicians, the information may not be available from our database for 90 days following a congratulatory letter form the specific ABMS Member Board to the physician. In the meantime, you could call the ABMS Member Board that you think he or she is Board Certified with and they may be able to help you.

How frequently is the ABMS database updated?
We receive information from our Member Boards to update our database on a regular basis. Information that is accessed through "Is Your Doctor Certified?" is updated once a week. Information available through our licensed partners for professional use is updated more frequently. In the case of newly certified physicians, the information may not be available from our database for 90 days following a congratulatory letter from the specific ABMS Member Board to the physician. In the meantime, you could call the ABMS Member Board that you think he or she is Board Certified with and they may be able to help you. Click here to learn more about getting ABMS data.

Medical Advice and Physician Referrals

Can ABMS give me a doctor recommendation or referral?
Unfortunately, this is not a service provided by ABMS. We are not a doctor referral service. Some possible resources are your insurance company or the doctor referral service at your local medical center. There are a number of commercial toll-free numbers you can call. You can also go to the reference section of your library and look at the Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists to find a particular physician. To confirm a physician's Board Certification status, you can go to the "Is Your Doctor Certified" section. You will be asked to register for the service by typing in some basic information. You can also call our toll-free service at 1-866-ASK-ABMS (1-866-275-2267).

Can ABMS give me advice on my medical condition?
Unfortunately, we do not have physicians on staff who can answer your question. We recommend you consult your family physician.

Comments and Complaints

How can I file a complaint against a physician?
To file a complaint against your doctor, you'll need to contact your state medical board. The state medical board directory can be accessed at: http://www.fsmb.org/directory_smb.html.

How can I find out if a doctor has any disciplinary actions against him or her?
You can find out this information either through the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) (
http://www.fsmb.org/directory_smb.html) or through the FSMB DocInfo (http://www.docinfo.org/) service which will provide you with professional information on physicians and physician assistants licensed in the United States including information on disciplinary sanctions, education, medical specialty, licensure history and locations.

Products and Services

Where can I get proof of Board Certification with dates?
ABMS makes its primary source data available through online services available from licensed partners. Information from these online services is accepted by TJC, NCQA, URAC and other accrediting organizations. Please contact our partners for additional information on their offerings:

Elsevier, publisher of Board Certified Docs
http://www.boardcertifieddocs.com/
1-800-523-1649, ext 3276
h.licensing@elsevier.com

CertiFACTS Online
http://www.certifacts.org
1-800-733-2267
dcoursey@ABMSsolutions.com  

How can I purchase a list of Board Certified physicians by locations and/or specialty?
Please contact ABMS for information about this service by calling (312) 436-2600 and select option 5, or e-mail products@abms.org.

How can I obtain a list by custom criteria?
ABMS does not offer this service. Our data is available through online services from our licensed partners. Both Primary Source Verification (PSV) and non-Primary Source (non-PSV) data is available. Reports from these products containing dates of Board Certification are considered Primary Source and satisfy TJC, NCQA, URAC and other accrediting organizations' requirements. Please contact our partners for additional information on their offerings:

Elsevier, publisher of Board Certified Docs
http://www.boardcertifieddocs.com/
1-800-523-1649 ext 3276
h.licensing@elsevier.com

CertiFACTS Online
http://www.certifacts.org  
1-800-733-2267
dcoursey@ABMSsolutions.com  

How can I obtain a mailing list?
Please send your request to products@abms.org

Publication Ordering

How can I order the ABMS Annual Report (or other ABMS publications)?
You can order a free copy of the ABMS Annual review or any of our other publications by using our online shopping cart.

How can I order the Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists?
This four volume set is published yearly by Elsevier under license from ABMS. Click here for more information.

Technical Support

What web browsers are supported?
We recommend that you use Internet Explorer Version 6.0 or Netscape Version 7.2 or higher. Our website may be compatible with other versions of these browsers as well as other browsers; however, we cannto guarantee their compatibility. JavaScript and cookies must be enable to allow full functionality of the website. Follow the instructions in your browser to enable cookies and JavaScript. If none of these methods work, please e-mail info@abms.org

How can I change my password?
The My Profile link is visible in the search panel when you are successfully logged into the "Is Your Doctor Certified" feature. It allows you to self-manage you user account information including e-mail, password, and e-mail notification setting. Enter the new password in the field indicated (Password, Confirm Password) and click "Update Profile".

How can I change my e-mail address?
Registered users of "Is Your Doctor Certified" may updated their e-mail address by logging into the service and clicking "My Profile". Enter the new e-mail address in the field indicated ("E-mail Address") and click "Update Profile".

How can I print a report?
"Is Your Doctor Certified" is a consumer service and does not contain functionality to print pages in a "report" format, though the information may be printed using browser print commands. Professional users who require printable formatted reports of Board Certification verification or other purposes may visit our product information pages. Please be aware that information obtained through the "Is Your Doctor Certified" section of this website is intended for personal consumer use only, and is not valid or authorized for use by professional organizations.

About ABMS

What is ABMS?
Established more than 75 years ago, the not-for-profit American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) collaborates with our 24 Member Boards to develop and implement professional standards, custom-tailored to each specialty, for Board Certification and the ABMS Maintenance of Certification® (ABMS MOC®) program.  Our Member Boards certify nearly 800,000 physicians. ABMS also verifies Board Certification of medical specialists to patients, the government, health care organizations, insurance companies, schools and businesses.

What is the ABMS MOC program?
The ABMS MOC program is a rigorous, career-long process that continually assesses and enhances doctors’ medical knowledge, judgment, professionalism, clinical techniques and communication skills. It is designed to ensure that Board Certified doctors remain highly qualified to provide you with the best possible care.

What is the difference between a licensed doctor and a Board Certified doctor?

All doctors in the United States must be licensed in order to practice medicine, but they are not required to be Board Certified. Board Certification is a voluntary process that goes above and beyond licensing requirements. Earning and maintaining Board Certification through an ABMS Member Board, though not a requirement to practice medicine, represents a physician's commitment to continually expand and refresh his or her knowledge in a particular medical specialty. 

Why does Board Certification matter?
Licensing enables doctors to treat patients but does not indicate whether they’re qualified to practice in a specific medical specialty such as family medicine, radiology or dermatology. Doctors who are Board Certified meet nationally recognized standards for education, knowledge and experience in a specific medical specialty, so you can count on quality patient care.

What if a doctor is Board Certified by someone other than an ABMS Member Board?
You want to be confident your doctors are qualified to provide expert care. ABMS is nationally recognized and respected for the high standards we set to certify doctors in various medical specialties. TJC, NCQA, health care institutions, insurers, physicians and patients use Board Certification by an ABMS Member Board as an essential tool to assess physician credentials within a given medical specialty.

How do doctors earn Board Certification?
To earn initial Board Certification, a doctor must be evaluated according to the education and residency training standards set by the ABMS Member Board in his or her specialty and then pass a written and, in some cases, an oral examination. Board Certification is just the first step in the career-long learning and assessment process required by the rigorous ABMS MOC program. To maintain Board Certification, doctors must actively keep pace with the latest advances in their specialty and demonstrate best practices for patient safety, communications and ethics in their practice.

How is the ABMS MOC program different than Board Certification?
Earning Board Certification is the first step in the ABMS MOC program. Doctors who are Board Certified then participate in the ABMS MOC program to demonstrate they are staying up-to-date with the latest advances in their specialties and continually enhancing their knowledge and the quality of care they provide throughout their careers.

What are the criteria that will cause a physician to lose his or her Board Certification?
It is up to the individual Member Board to set the criteria for the physicians that they certify. Contact the relevant Member Board for more information.