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While taking the exam to renew his physician specialty certification, pulmonologist Jordan Metcalf got hung up on a question about a rare complication in a bone marrow transplant patient — a hematology issue.

“I’m a pulmonary critical care guy,” said Metcalf, a professor in University of Oklahoma’s College of Medicine. “If I have some really wild stuff going on hematologically in a patient, shouldn’t I be calling, say, a hematologist?”


It’s a common frustration among doctors. They have to take tests through the leading certification boards to renew their credentials, but many of them complain that the questions aren’t always relevant to their specific expertise. Not only that, they say the whole process is too expensive and onerous. Surveys over the years have laid bare widespread dissatisfaction with recertification.

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