eOral Software FAQ

Q: How do I get access to the eOral Software?
A: Access is based on program access so please ask your program director if the program already has access to the eOral Software. If your program does not currently have access please complete the CORD eOral Software Letter of Agreement and eOral Software Payment Form and send to cord@cordem.org or fax to 972-692-5347 to sign up.

Q: Are there any fees associated with the eOral Software?
A: Fees to access the eOral software for 2016 are $50. Fees may increase in 2017 and this has not yet been decided by the Board of Directors. Access for the $50 will begin the day the program is set up and end on December 31, 2016, access fees are NOT prorated.

Q: What is the purpose of the Letter of Agreement (LOA)?
A:The purpose of the LOA is to establish the terms by which Emergency Medicine (EM)  residencies (Programs) can have access to the enhanced oral (eOral) examination software (eOral Software) developed by the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) for use in the new ABEM eOral testing format. ABEM wants Programs to have access to the eOral Software testing format. A national pilot study showed that residents are readily facile with this testing format. Nonetheless, ABEM is interested in assessing competencies such as Patient Management, Data Acquisition, Problem Solving, etc., and not the mechanics of test-taking.

The Council of Emergency Medicine Residency Directors (CORD) has agreed to support the Programs as the eOral Software is deployed and used by the Programs. ABEM is unable to be directly involved in board review and preparation activities. Through CORD’s oversight, the LOA is intended to ensure that only Programs with the proper relationship with CORD have access to the eOral Software and that ABEM’s intellectual property rights are protected. The LOA further outlines additional terms of use.

Q: Can the LOA be altered or negotiated?
A: No. Just as a typical software licensing agreement cannot be altered, the LOA is non-negotiable. This is a condition imposed by ABEM.

Q: What does the Program receive for entering into the LOA?
A: The Program will receive a license to use the “Candidate Application” and the “Examiner Application” components of the eOral Software for the purpose of familiarizing the Program’s EM residents with the eOral Software through practice or “mock” examinations. CORD will also have access to the “Case Authoring Program” component of the eOral Software, which it will use to develop mock eOral cases for use by the Programs. These eOral Software components are the same components that ABEM is using to develop eOral cases and deliver examinations.  

Q: Does ABEM receive any financial benefit from the LOA?
A: No. ABEM receives no revenues from its arrangement with CORD. ABEM does not charge CORD for its license of the eOral Software or the right to sublicense the eOral Software to the Programs. In fact, ABEM is providing grant support to CORD to help cover the initial technical support costs that CORD will incur in deploying the eOral Software to the Programs and in supporting the Programs’ use of the eOral Software. CORD has contracted with a third party software company, Maestro LLC, to assist CORD in providing technical support to the Programs.  

Q: Why is the LOA only good for one year?
A: The primary reason is flexibility. CORD will incur ongoing technical support costs with respect to the Programs’ use of the eOral Software. ABEM is helping to cover CORD’s initial costs, but CORD will be responsible for paying costs in the years to come. After each Program’s initial one-year free period, CORD will need to charge a licensing fee for the Program’s use of the eOral Software. The license fees will be set at a level intended to reimburse CORD for the Program’s share of CORD’s total support costs. Future support costs are not yet known and may vary year-to-year, so flexibility is needed to adjust the license fee periodically.

Q: May Programs Share the eOral Software?
A: No. The terms of the LOA restrict the use of the eOral Software to the Program that enters into the LOA. The LOA prohibits the Program from sharing the eOral Software with any other EM residency or with any other residency (of any type) within or outside of the Program’s hospital or healthcare system. A Program may use the eOral Software with its EM residents and with medical students or other residents from other specialties who are doing clinical rotations within the Program’s residency.

Q: May the eOral Software be copied?
A: No. Copying the eOral Software is strictly prohibited. The eOral Software is the intellectual property of ABEM.

Q: How will eOral formatted cases be made available?  
A: ABEM has provided CORD with two sample cases, which CORD will distribute to the Programs using the eOral Software. These are the same two cases that candidates will be able to view on the ABEM website early next year. CORD will also make selected cases available from an eOral case bank that CORD is developing independently from ABEM.

Q: Can I have access to the authoring tool to upload cases for my program?
A: No, case authoring is restricted to authors approved by the CORD Board of Directors. Currently this is being completed by the CORD Simulation Community of Practice. Once a case is submitted in the authoring tool there is no way to restrict this case to any specific program and it will be available to everyone with access to the CORD eOral Software.

Q: If ABEM modifies the eOral Software, how will the Programs be assured that they have the most current version?
A: ABEM will provide CORD with ABEM-approved modifications to the eOral Software. CORD will forward modifications that affect the Candidate Application or Examiner Application to the Programs. The LOA requires that the Programs work with CORD to install the modifications that CORD provides.

Q: Will Programs need to pay for any modifications to the eOral Software?
A: No. CORD will provide any modifications to the eOral Software to the Programs free of charge.

Q: What are the hardware requirements for the eOral Software?
A: During the ABEM Oral Certification Examination, ABEM will use an iPad, a Mac mini, desktop speakers, an external mouse, and a monitor. Specific software and hardware requirements are listed in the LOA. An iPad 3 or higher with the proper operating platform and functionality is essential. However, the Mac mini can be replaced by a Mac computer with sufficient functionality and the appropriate operating system. Various monitors can be used, but some monitors do not properly display the graphics; attention to the monitor specifications is important. The current eOral Software format is not PC compatible.       

Q: Do I have to have both an iPad and Mac to run the software?
A: Yes, there are 2 apps that run in conjunction for the software. The examiner app is controlled on the iPad by the examiner and the candidate app is run on the Mac by the candidate and receives the information from the examiner on the iPad.

Q: Can I use a PC for the software?
A: No, the software was built on a Mac/Apple platform and is not compatible with a PC.

Q: What if a Program has suggestions to improve the eOral Software?
A: From time to time, ABEM and CORD will seek suggestions to improve the eOral Software. Any unauthorized modifications, copying, or distribution of the eOral Software is illegal and would violate the LOA, and must be immediately reported in writing to CORD and ABEM. ABEM has included this restriction to ensure that candidates are exposed to the actual software they will be using when testing.

Q: How do I give feedback to CORD regarding a case already published on the eOral Software?
A: Please complete the eOral Case Feedback Survey and let CORD know what changes you think are needed or additions that need to be made to a case.

Q: What does the Program’s Responsibilities requirement #7 mean when it states, “The Program will not make any public statements or any representations or warranties to residents or anyone else regarding the eOral software or examination process, or the results obtained by using the practice or mock examination provided under this Agreement.”?
A: This provision in the LOA asks that the Programs not make public statements regarding the eOral Software or the eOral examination process, and that the Programs not make private statements to residents or others that might create a false impression regarding the eOral Software or the eOral examination process, or lead to ABEM or CORD incurring liability with respect to the eOral Software or the eOral examination process.

Q: Why are the General Provisions so legalistic?
A: These provisions are at the insistence of ABEM. ABEM zealously protects the integrity of its testing process in order to maintain the value of ABEM certification.

Q: General Provision 5 mentions indemnification. What does this mean to the Programs?
A: The indemnification provision is intended to protect the Program, CORD, and ABEM in the event that any one of them is harmed by a breach of the LOA by or the negligent or illegal acts of any party. Indemnification means that the party that caused the harm would be responsible for reimbursing the harmed organization(s) and defending the harmed organizations(s) in any related lawsuit.

Q: Why are disputes subject to the laws in the State of Texas and the State of Michigan in General Provision 6?
A: CORD receives its management services through the American College of Emergency Physicians, which is in Texas; ABEM is located in Michigan.

Q: What does it mean to say, General Provision 7, that “Each of CORD and ABEM may enforce its rights under this Agreement by specific performance”?     
A: “Special performance” is when a court orders a party to perform a specific act. The order could be instead of or in addition to an order that requires a party to pay money. An example would be if a Program continued use of the eOral Software after the termination of the LOA without CORD or ABEM’s permission.  In that situation, General Provision 7 would allow CORD or ABEM to obtain a court order requiring the Program to stop using the eOral Software.

Q: Who can sign the Agreement?
A: CORD will accept the signature of any person affiliated with the Residency, hospital, or healthcare system that has legal and binding signing authority. That authority is the determination of the leadership of the Residency, hospital, or healthcare system.

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