OSTEOPATHIC BOARD CERTIFICATION

Application overview

When is the Clinical Exam offered each year?

The Clinical Exam is offered twice annually, in the winter and the summer.

Winter cycle
Application opens in early April
First deadline: Aug. 15 (after the first deadline, a late fee will be added)
Final deadline: Sept. 1

Summer cycle
Application opens in early November
First deadline: Feb. 15 (after the first deadline, a late fee will be added)
Final deadline: March 1

If you plan to apply, it is recommended that you do so promptly when the application opens, as the testing cohorts fill up very quickly, sometimes within hours of the application opening.

How is the Clinical Exam conducted?

The Clinical Exam is conducted remotely through a review of charts submitted online. Candidates completing the Clinical Exam via the new format will also participate in an online case defense session with two examiners.

Additional information related to the Clinical Exam format and timeline is available on the AOBOS website and in the Clinical Examination Handbook.

I was unable to submit an application as the testing cohort is full/application closed early. When is the next application available?

The Board is aware of the inconvenience this presents for candidates attempting to examine. The Clinical Exam requires two board-certified and trained examiners to be assigned to each candidate which limits the total number of candidates that can be tested each cycle.

Please note that all Candidates who were or became Board eligible in 2020 have been granted an additional year of eligibility due to the pandemic. Rather than six years of eligibility, those Candidates now have seven years. For example, if you completed your residency on June 30, 2019, you are Board Eligible until Dec. 31, 2026.

If you plan to apply, it is recommended that you do so promptly when the application opens, as the testing cohorts fill up very quickly, sometimes within hours of the application opening.

Required documentation for applications

What files are documents are required with my application?

Along with the completed online application and application fee, the following required documents must be uploaded to your online application: completed case log (including hospital location sheet), mortality report and photo/headshot.

Templates for the case log and mortality report are available on the AOBOS website.

All documents must be uploaded prior to the application deadline. If the required documents are not received by this deadline, the application will be canceled, and you may re-apply for a future administration.

When completing my case log form (required for application), what cases/how many cases should be included?

When recording cases on the case log form:

  • ALL major surgeries where you are the primary surgeon must be included
  • The collection period must cover six consecutive months and must include a minimum of 100 cases (if 100 cases are not collected in the six months, collection may continue for up to 18 months)
  • Materials for all submitted cases MUST be available to gather for your exam
  • Mortalities are to be listed both in the category of primary treatment and under Category I (Mortalities)

The AOBOS website and Clinical Exam Handbook provide additional details related to the case log form and requirements for submission.

Case defense file upload

Who should I contact if I have questions when uploading information for my case defense?

You can always reach out to the AOBOS Office at aobos@osteopathic.org with questions; however, specific questions related to clinical documentation are best addressed by your assigned Senior Examiner.

Please note that the template available within FileBox must be used for submission of case information. The template is designed to present the information to Examiners in a standardized and chronological order. Avoid duplication of information within the submitted documentation where possible. Materials must be clear, legible and appropriately redacted.

If I experience issues adding case images into the template, how should I proceed?

You may save the images as PDF and enter these into the template. If you do not have access to PowerPoint and need to create a larger set of images, you may use another program (e.g., Keynote) and save as PDF.

Should you experience issues creating your case files or entering information into the template, please contact the AOBOS Office at aobos@osteopathic.org with additional information.

If a patient has multiple orthopedic procedures completed by other physicians, do notes need to be included?

Generally, notes by another physician for a procedure they performed should be included if it impacts the case that you are preparing but not for unrelated procedures. Case specific questions should be directed to your assigned Senior Examiner.

I performed multiple procedures on the patient. Should notes for each of these be included?

The operative notes on other procedures may be included, but additional documentation is not required unless it relates directly to the selected case.

For Stage 2 revision cases, should the Stage 1 notes, clearance and other information be included?

The Stage 1 portion of the care should be included in the preoperative evaluation section of the template. This should include only the pertinent information required to see the treatment given, and how it was determined that the patient was ready for the second stage.

In which section should the patient labs be included?

Generally patient labs should be included in the section to which they most apply (e.g., pre-operative labs should be included in pre-operative information, post-operative labs in post-operative, etc.). Repetitive information should be avoided when possible as it slows the review process.

In what section of the template should post-operative orders be placed?

Post-operative orders may be placed in the section for inpatient post-operative notes as the information relates to this section and will allow the Examiners to more easily complete their review.

If the patient was readmitted for a reason that involved the limb which was operative on, how/where should this be documented?

If the patient was readmitted, this information should be included in the inpatient progress note section, and details included in a separate folder labeled as “Readmission” with the date.

How much detail should be included for consults on a case? For example, if a patient was sent for wound vac, are all the notes from that service required in case materials?

As the Clinical Exam is assessing your management of the case rather than that of other providers, generally, consults should include documentation of indications that consult was obtained and the outcome of the treatment. Case-specific questions should be directed to your assigned Senior Examiner.

Should notes from other services or providers be included?

As the Clinical Exam is assessing your management of the case rather than that of other providers, generally, documentation from other services is not pertinent unless they impact the orthopedic pathology. Case-specific questions should be directed to your assigned Senior Examiner.

Should all pages/portions of post-operative orders be included? Some are very lengthy depending on the nature of the case.

Generally, the surgeon’s orders for care post-surgery will be sufficient. However, case-specific questions should be directed to your assigned Senior Examiner.

Does the inclusion of PT discharge summaries suffice for PT notes?

Generally, PT discharge summaries may suffice as Examiners are evaluating your management of the case. Management of the case is influenced by PT as it serves in the patient’s best follow-up care which you are managing, but all PT notes may not be needed as the PT is not being evaluated. Case-specific questions should be directed to your assigned Senior Examiner.

Should nurses’ notes and/or OT notes be included?

OT notes should be included if they are important to the case.

Post-examination

When can I expect to hear my results from the Exam?

Generally, results are released within 90 days of the close of the cycle period. A notification will be sent via email when the results are available online.

If unsuccessful, how can I improve my performance on the Clinical Exam next time?

Whenever possible, additional details and feedback from Examiners will be provided to aid in preparing for the next administration of the Clinical Exam.