The American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology (ABCN) is a subspecialty board that is independent of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Boards belonging to the ABMS are focused primarily on the major clinical specialties, and various independent subspecialty boards have therefore been established in order to develop training standards and assess the educational background, knowledge and skills of those practicing in more specialized fields. These independent boards vary widely in their standards and academic underpinning.
The American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology (ABCN) was founded by the American Electroencephalographic Society in 1950 (now the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society), originally as the American Board of Qualification in Electroencephalography (ABQEEG). The board consists of eight members, each serving a 4-year term that can be renewed once. One member each is appointed by the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association. The other five members are elected at large by the board. The appointment of members to the board is ratified by the Council of the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (formerly the American Electroencephalographic Society, but the ABCN is a certifying body that is completely independent of that society.
Clinical neurophysiology is a medical subspecialty in which a variety of electrophysiological techniques are used to assess the functional integrity of the nervous system, and its sensory organs or effector structures. The ABCN is concerned especially with the functional evaluation of the central nervous system or CNS, the sensory organs, and their connections to the CNS. The competent clinical neurophysiologist must be able to interpret or obtain a history and any physical findings to a sufficient extent that the clinical problem for which electrophysiologic evaluation is requested can be defined. Electrophysiological tests performed in the clinical neurophysiology laboratory must then be interpreted with the clinical context of the individual case in mind, in order to provide information that is clinically useful for diagnostic, prognostic or therapeutic purposes.
The ABCN exists to encourage the highest quality, and establish standard competencies in central clinical neurophysiology in order to facilitate safe and proper evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of patients. The ABCN provides a certification program to recognize licensed physicians who demonstrate knowledge, skills and proficiency in clinical neurophysiology.