ABCRS Privacy Policy


In the course of administering the certification and Maintenance of Certification processes, The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ABCRS) must collect and utilize personal and professional information pertaining to its applicants and diplomates. ABCRS has issued the following Privacy Statement to describe its collection, use, and disclosure of such information. In the interests of public health and safety, it is ABCRS’ objective to promote the submission of candid and complete information by candidates and diplomates by ensuring the confidentiality of sensitive information to the extent possible within the scope of ABCRS’ role as a certifying organization.

Use and Disclosure of Personal Information

Personal information is collected and used to identify residents, applicants for certification, diplomates and former diplomates. It is also used to verify a physician’s credentials to determine eligibility for certification or to maintain certification. ABCRS only collects personal information from users of those parts of its website that require a login.
In order to determine the qualifications of applicants during the Certification Processes, ABCRS requires that applicants and diplomates provide personal contact and identifying information, as well as personal, educational, and professional background information. This information is used by ABCRS to identify and determine an applicant’s or diplomate’s appropriate status with the ABCRS.
In connection with the registration and administration of its examinations, ABCRS requires an applicant’s or diplomate’s personal information, including name, mailing address, and social security number. Social security numbers are used only as an individual identifier. ABCRS restricts access to such personal information to ABCRS employees and contractors who need this information to conduct the registration, administration, and scoring of examinations, and for the verification of certification by ABCRS.
ABCRS does not disclose any personal information regarding its applicants or diplomates to non-ABCRS employees and contractors, except when required by law (such as complying with a subpoena or court order) or as described below for the American Board of Medical Specialties (“ABMS”). ABCRS does not share personal information about its applicants or diplomates with companies or other third parties outside of ABCRS for marketing purposes.
Upon certification and recertification, ABCRS provides biographical and demographic data on diplomates to ABMS, which publishes The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists®. ABMS will directly contact diplomates regarding the publication of diplomate information in its directory. ABCRS diplomates will communicate directly to ABMS the personal information that they wish to appear in the directory.
ABCRS provides residency program directors with the results of their residents’ performance on specific ABCRS examinations. Individual examination results are not provided to any other person or institution. ABCRS will use performance on examinations and other information for research purposes and may publish these studies. In these instances, however, ABCRS will not identify specific individuals, hospitals, or practice affiliations.
ABCRS provides summary information for specific residency programs regarding the collective performance of residents on ABCRS examinations to the Residency Review Committee for Colon and Rectal Surgery.
ABCRS reserves the right to disclose information in its possession regarding any individual whom it determines, in its sole and absolute discretion, is involved in a violation of ABCRS rules or procedures or engaged in misrepresentation or unprofessional behavior or any other illegal activity. Such determinations may include statistical analyses of examination responses.

Protection of Personal Information

ABCRS maintains physical, electronic, and procedural safeguards to protect and secure all personal information in its possession. ABCRS’ security measures protect the confidentiality of online communication, examination results, and data related to the Certification Processes. ABCRS uses encrypted technology for the sensitive communications performed. Examination results and sensitive applicant and diplomate data transmissions are encrypted and stored in secure areas of ABCRS accessible only with a unique ID and password. Firewalls and monitoring devices are designed to prevent unauthorized network access via the Internet.

Updated: February 2013

Ethics and Professionalism Policy

Unethical and unprofessional behavior is denoted by any dishonest behavior, including: cheating; lying; falsifying information; misrepresenting one’s educational background, certification status and/or professional experience; and failure to report misconduct. The American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery has adopted a “zero tolerance” policy toward these behaviors, and individuals caught exhibiting such behaviors risk being permanently barred from certification, reported to state medical boards, and/or legally prosecuted for copyright or other violations.

Unethical behavior is specifically defined by the ABCRS to include the disclosure, publication, reproduction or transmission of ABCRS examinations, in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, verbal or written, electronic or mechanical, for any purposes. This also extends to sharing examination information or discussing an examination while still in progress. Unethical behavior also includes the possession, reproduction or disclosure of materials or information, including examination questions or answers or specific information regarding the content of the examination, before, during or after the examination. This definition specifically includes the recall and reconstruction of examination questions by any means and such efforts may violate federal copyright law. All ABCRS examinations are copyrighted and protected by law; the ABCRS will prosecute violations to the full extent provided by law and seek monetary damages for any loss of examination materials.

Continuing Certification

What does it mean when a physician is required?

Continuing Certification or Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is a process adopted by all 24 ABMS boards that assesses six core physician competencies approved by the ABMS and the ACGME throughout a physician’s career. The six competencies that have been identified as important to deliver quality care are communication skills, professionalism, medical knowledge, patient care, practice-based learning and improvement, which includes the ability to measure, and improve quality of care and system-based practice. All physicians certified after 1990 are required to participate in Continuing Certification.

What does it mean when a physician is required?

Prior to 1990, certification by the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery was granted for life. These certified colon and rectal surgeons are not required to recertify or to meet the requirements of Maintenance of Continuing Certification in this area but are strongly encouraged to do so.