ABR gives latest updates on Core Exam at AUR-hosted webinar

Zoom presentations by the ABR addressed COVID-era issues

May 11, 2020

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In a wide-ranging webinar on Zoom today hosted by the Association of University Radiologists (AUR), leadership at the American Board of Radiology (ABR) including President Brent Wagner MD and Executive Director Valerie Jackson, addressed concerns raised in relation to uncertainty introduced by COVID-19. Topics discussed included the Core Exam, Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) for certified radiologists, and the redesigned 16-month nuclear medicine pathway for radiology residents. The ABR leadership acknowledged the uncertainty introduced by COVID-19. We’ve summarized points related to the Core Exam in Q&A format.

Q: Will November 2020 Core Exam still happen?
A: Dr. Wagner confirmed that that November 2020 remains the target date for the Core Exam, but emphasized that the ABR Coronavirus Updates page would have the latest information.

Q: Will there be a spring 2020 Core Exam date?
A: Dr. Wagner mentioned that an early spring date was under consideration as an additional date option, in case residents were uncomfortable or unable to attend the November 2020 date. Dr. Jackson suggested this spring date could be late February 2021 or March 2021 and would be announced shortly. Dr. Wagner emphasized the ultimate board certification date could still be the same if a resident chose the spring 2021 session.

Q: Could the Core Exam be moved to late summer or early fall to avoid a second wave of COVID-19?
A:
Dr. Wagner responded that the ABR considered this option, but decided not to pursue it. They thought it was too hard to gamble on a possible narrow window of lifted COVID-related restrictions, particularly given the anxiety around studying for a test that might later not occur.

Q: What about social distancing during the Core Exam?
A:
Dr. Wagner mentioned that skipping workstations to increase distancing as an example possible measure, but noted this or other measures may or may not be necessary depending on recommendations and requirements at that time.

Q: Could the Core Exam be postponed to June 2021, and subsequently moved to the end of the R4 year in perpetuity?
A:
Dr. Wagner mentioned the R3 timing would allow residents to close any gaps identified by the exam, affording the possibility of remediation. Drs. Wagner and Jackson mentioned they would look at that possibility. Dr. Jackson said the reason for a February or early March 2021 Core Exam would be to help avoid two years worth of residents (R3 and R4) being absent from department rotations in May/June 2021.

Q: Why can’t the ABR move to remote testing for the Core Exam?
A: In brief, Drs. Wagner and Jackson reiterated previously-voiced arguments related to image quality, security, cost of implementation, etc.

— Orbit Staff

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