CertLink FAQ

Q: What is CertLink™?
A: CertLink is an online program that presents approximately 10-15 practice focused questions per quarter that can be answered on your schedule. 

Q: How does CertLink™ work?
A: Ten to 15 questions will be released quarterly to each participating Diplomate. Diplomates will be able to work at their own pace and answer individual questions any time during the quarter period. Five minutes will be allotted to answer each question. Upon answering each question, Diplomates will be given immediate feedback including the rationale for the correct answer and references.

Q: How do I access CertLink™?
A: Log in to your portal on the ABOHNS website and click the CertLink icon.

Q: Do I need to be a member of the AAO-HNS to get the CME credits for CertLink™?
A: No, but you will need to be registered in OTO Logic with AAO-HNS/F. There is no fee to register. You can register here.

Q: Will there be any changes with how Diplomate's Continuing Certification (CC) status is reported to the public?
A: Stopping placing expiration dates on all newly issued certificates; reporting for non-compliance with CC (after two consecutive years of non-compliance with requirements) in addition to reporting expired certificates on the website; there might be possible additional changes based on the final revised ABMS CC Standards currently in development. 

 

Q: Who is eligible to participate in CertLink™?
A: : Diplomates who have a non-expired board certificate and are actively meeting Continuing Certification (CC) requirements are eligible to participate in CertLink. If you are a Diplomate certified before 2002, the fee is the same ($310) and the non-time limited certificate is not at risk by voluntarily participating in CC. The ABOHNS reports these Diplomates on the website as voluntarily participating in CC. There is an opportunity to get 10 CME credits annually without any additional cost by answering at least 30 CertLink items per year. If you have an ABOHNS Sleep subspecialty certificate, please contact the office for information on how CertLink applies to you. 

Q: Can a non time-limited board-certified Diplomate participate in CertLink™?
A: : Yes, so long as the Diplomate is participating in the Continuing Certification (CC) program. Please contact Amar Preet at moc@abohns.org if you would like to enroll in the CC Program.

Q: What practice focus areas are available in CertLink™?
A: CertLink has seven practice focus areas and two sub-specialty areas

Q: Can a Diplomate change their practice focus (PFA) area in CertLink™?
A: Once you select your PFA, you must complete all CertLink questions in the given year under that PFA. If you want to change your specialty please contact Amar Preet at moc@abohns.org.

Q: Can Diplomates in the ABOHNS subcertifications participate in CertLink™? Neurotology? Sleep? Complex Pediatric Otolaryngology (CPO)?
A: Neurotology and CPO - Yes, and this will be the required module for CertLink for those who are subcertified. For Sleep - the pilot is beginning with ABIM collaboration in January 2022.

Q: Is there a fee to participate in CertLink™?
A: No. The annual $310.00 fee covers all components of Continuing Certification, including CertLink.

Q: How can Diplomates enroll in CertLink™?
A: There is an annual enrollment period for CertLink. During enrollment Diplomates can enroll in CertLink by logging in to their Diplomate portal at www.abohns.org via their online Diplomate profile. If you have any questions, please contact us at moc@abohns.org or 713-850-0399.

Q: Is there incentive to participate in CertLink™?
Annual participation by answering at least 30 questions gives Part II self-assessment credit and 10 category 1 PRA AMA CME credits which are awarded by the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNS/F).

Q: Is CertLink™ available to new Diplomates?
A: Yes. All ABOHNS Diplomates are enrolled in CertLink after becoming certified.

Q: What are the successful participation requirements for CertLink™?
A: The CertLink program will present a total of 40 new questions each year specific to a practice focus area. All questions must be answered and submitted by the end of each year. 

Q: How does a Diplomate know whether they meet successful participation requirements?
A: To help them gauge how they are doing, Diplomates receive immediate feedback regarding the percentage of questions answered correctly. Several reminders are sent if there are still questions left to answer as the end of each quarter approaches. Questions will roll over to the next quarter if not answered in any quarter. All questions must be answered and submitted by the end of the year.

Q: What happens if a Diplomate participating in CertLink™ does not meet the requirements?
A: For Diplomates not meeting standards, there is an opportunity for remediation and this policy can be found on the ABOHNS website.

Q: What if a Diplomate no longer wants to participate in the CertLink™ program?
A: Diplomates may choose to stop participating at any time. However, if successful participation requirements are not met, Diplomates will have to go through the reinstatement process.

Q: If my certificate expires in 2026 or later, why am I enrolled in CertLink™ now?
A: All Diplomates are auto enrolled into CertLink™ as of January 1, 2021, because this will be the knowledge assessment to renew certifications for all Diplomates moving forward. If your certificate expires in 2026 or later, you will still need to answer 160 new items before certification renewal. For your flexibility, you can begin answering questions toward the required 160 now or wait to begin until within four-to-five years of your certification renewal year. 

Q: I was in the CertLink™ pilot for part III credit. Will the Diplomate's new certificate be for 10 years or five years?
A: It will be for 10 years since that was the expectation when enrolled in the pilot. Moving forward, the certificate renewals will be every five years upon renewal. 

Q: Will there be a sabbatical or accommodations for life circumstances for CertLink™ participants?
A: If any life events happen, please contact Continuing Certification Specialist Amar Preet at moc@abohns.org or call the office at 713-850-0399 to discuss the situation.

Q: What are the system requirements for my computer?
A: CertLink is compatible with most common browsers including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Microsoft Edge, and can be used on a desktop or laptop computer. Diplomates will also need a consistent and reliable internet connection. Find more details at https://www.mycertlink.org/Dashboard/TechnicalRequirements.aspx.

Q: Is CertLink™ mobile device friendly?
A: We encourage the use of a desktop or laptop computer for optimal CertLink performance. Some items contain visuals, which are best viewed on a larger display. Mobile friendly interfaces are being explored, including the possibility of an app.

Q: How many questions will the Diplomate receive per quarter?
A: Ten to 15 multiple choice questions will be available each quarter.

Q: How much time is allotted to answer each question?
A: Diplomates will have five minutes to answer each question.

Q: What happens if time runs out on a specific question before the answer is submitted?
A: If no answer is submitted, the question will be scored as incorrect.

Q: Do all questions have to be answered at once?
A: No. Questions can be answered at a Diplomate’s convenience so long as all questions are answered by the end of each year. The questions will roll forward to the next quarter and are available until all items are reset during the first week of January each year. Once the new year starts, unanswered questions from the previous year will not be available. Questions may be answered one at a time, in small batches, or all in one sitting. Once a question is presented, however, it must be answered. You can skip 40 questions over a five-year renewal cycle. Skipped questions for each year will be able to be tracked on the dashboard starting in 2022.

 

Q: Can resources be used to answer questions?
A: Questions should not require pre-exam studying or the use of books and online materials while answering. Resources (e.g., books, internet, etc., ) may be used, with the exception of another person, as long as the question is answered during the allocated time (five minutes). The only resource that cannot be used in that five minute period is consulting with another person to help answer the question. The ABOHNS CertLink questions are written to assess the "walking around" knowledge for an otolaryngologist without needing to consult a text or a colleague. Diplomates will be asked to review and sign the ABOHNS CertLink Participant Agreement, which explicitly states what resources can and cannot be used.

Q: What is a clone question?
A: For questions you get incorrect, a similar question will be given at a later date. If the clone question is answered correctly, showing learning from getting the initial question incorrect, then full credit for the question initially answered will be given.

Q: How will CertLink™ questions be scored and what type of feedback will a participant receive?
A: Participants will receive immediate feedback on answered items. Score performance (i.e. total number of questions, number of questions answered correctly, and percentage of questions answered correctly) will be also available. Your CertLink dashboard will give additional details on categories of questions and performance in each one.

Q: How do I know if I am "passing" the CertLink™ assessment?
A: There will be a performance goal communicated each year and posted on your dashboard to guide your performance. This performance goal is effectively the "cut score" for the new items administered that year, as calculated with standard setting. If you are usually above the annual performance goal, you should also be above the performance standard once you reach 160 new items answered. 

Q: How will a Diplomate know new questions are available?
A: New questions will be available at the beginning of each quarter. Email notification is used to keep you updated. Please make sure your ABOHNS profile contact information is current.

Q: How often are reminder notifications sent?
A: Diplomates will be sent a notification when questions are first available at the beginning of the quarter as well as a reminder every 30 days, one week, and two days before the end of the quarter if there are unanswered questions remaining in the Diplomate’s portfolio. Any remaining questions that are not answered once a quarter is complete will roll over to the next quarter. The final due date each year will be communicated with all Diplomates via email reminders.

Q: How do Diplomates notify the ABOHNS about an issue or feedback they have regarding a CertLink™ question or the program in general?
A: Feedback can be submitted via the CertLink Help Section or by contacting the ABOHNS at abohns@mycertlink.org.

Q: What ADA accommodations will CertLink™ offer?
A: Accommodations will be made available based on the ABOHNS ADA Policy. Please contact us at moc@abohns.org or call our office at 713-850-0399 with questions.