Many professionals today are concerned that certification is becoming more burdensome and less meaningful. We believe that recent advances in cloud and mobile computing technology, coupled with a software platform driven approach to certification management, can help boards and associations transform certification into a process that is very simple and deeply meaningful.
Make certification simple
To make certification simple we must minimize the effort required of both boards, and the professionals they serve, to get and stay certified. This requires three fundamental changes to the certification process:
Automation means automating every step of every process involved in certification for board staff, new applicants and renewing certificants. This includes automating enrollment, completion of tasks by staff and professionals, reviews, approvals, issuing of certificates, and audits. It also means automating reminders so that boards and professionals know when certifications are due to expire, and when certification tasks need to be completed. It means eliminating filing cabinets overflowing with paper. And bulging mailboxes. And bloated email inboxes. And endless printing and faxing. Automation brings the additional benefit of standardization. Standardizing certification processes ensures that every professional, reviewer and auditor completes the exact same steps when completing, reviewing and auditing certifications.
Automation also means simplifying the process of adding and changing credentials so it can be done in minutes with no technical expertise and no custom programming. And automating the management of the underlying database so that custom data fields can also be added in minutes, also without custom programming.
And of course it means automating the evolution of professional from new applicants to renewing certificants. And automating the modification of individual certifications as they evolve over time.
The benefits of automation are amplified by centralization. This means providing a common, central system of record for every certification process. And for all of the data and documents that support those processes. A system of record that is stored securely, with infinite scalability, in the cloud. With easy access from any authorized user on any device, from smartphone to desktop. In particular it means:
- One place for boards to define and manage all their credentials.
- One place for board staff to track professional compliance across credentials.
- One place for board staff to review the status of individual applications.
- One place for professionals to track credential status, and to complete tasks including form submissions, evidence document uploads, online payments, tracking and balancing CEs, peer reviews and work logs.
- One place for professionals to manage evidence documents, credentials and continuing education (CE) transcripts. And share them upon request, in seconds, with reviewers, auditors and employers.
Automation and centralization provide the foundation for integration. Integration means every person, and every supporting system, can share data and documents automatically in real-time. Integrating people means board administrators, reviewers and auditors can effortlessly share data and documents with professionals. It also means boards can effortlessly share data and documents with their other internal systems, such as CRM, LMS or AMS systems, as well as the systems of their business partners, such as CE providers, testing companies and employers.
- Bringing it all together
Imagine this scenario: A professional gets an email reminder that they need to renew their certification. They click on an email link to start the process from their smartphone, laptop or desktop. They fill out an application form in seconds. The submitted data is automatically saved to their profile. They snap pictures of evidence documents and upload them to a digital wallet. They make an online payment for the renewal fee. They submit a work log. They ask a colleague to provide a peer review. They browse a marketplace of pre-approved CE providers and offerings that exactly match the requirements of their renewal. They submit CE hours and see them automatically applied across one or more credentials in seconds. And certificates of completion automatically posted to their digital wallet. They register for an exam and, upon completion and scoring, see their test score automatically posted to their application. Automatic reminders ensure they know exactly what they have done and what they need to do at all times. If they submit inaccurate data or documents, they automatically receive email alerts with clear directions on corrective action. And when they have completed their renewal process they automatically receive an electronic copy of their new certificate in their digital wallet, alongside a digital CE transcript that they can share in seconds if and when required. A complex, time-consuming, labor-intensive process is suddenly incredibly simple.
Make certification meaningful
Automation, centralization and integration can make certification simple. But how do you make certification meaningful? For that, you need to enable a continuous improvement loop for each professional. In this loop, continuing education requirements are driven by personal and employer-driven needs in order to develop professional competencies in ways that are both meaningful and valuable to the professional and their employer. This requires 3 things:
- Assess needs
The first step in continuous improvement is to assess the needs and current capabilities of individual professionals and the employers they serve. Every organization, in every industry, seeks to develop its employees in order to improve job performance and satisfaction. Any gap between current performance and desired outcomes represents an opportunity for improvement at the professional level, the employer level, or both.
- Guide professional development
Once development needs have been established, it becomes easy to guide professionals to continuing education opportunities that develop their competencies in ways that close the gap between current performance and desired outcomes.
- Measure improved professional competencies and outcomes
Improvement happens each time you close a gap between professional performance and outcomes. Do it on a continued basis, the very definition of continuing education, and you enable and drive continuous improvement. Everyone benefits, from the professional to employers to the customers they serve.
- Bringing it all together
Imagine, for example, a world in which the certification process could truly assess the skill sets and competencies of a physician. A process that could easily understand the unique practice patterns and clinical skill sets of a physician and then leverage that data to evaluate the physician's knowledge base in a meaningful, pertinent way. A process that then analyzes that data to create a composite competency profile for each physician across accepted core pillars of practice. A process that then automatically responds to identified competency gaps by offering or assigning continuing education pathways that allows physicians to satisfy existing continuing education requirements in a manner that is meaningful to their day to day practice. A process that then compares competencies of each physician from cycle to cycle to assess the efficacy of educational choices and then provides feedback to education providers so that they can revise and improve their courses to further drive physician growth and improvement. What you have is a needs based, data driven, and outcomes focused process that enables certification to drive measurable improvements in critical skill sets and competencies.
Using certification in general, and the continuing education component of certification in particular, to drive continuous improvement in professional competencies and outcomes transforms certification from a meaningless box-checking chore into a meaningful, rewarding exercise in personal and professional development that benefits everyone.
Certemy wants to change certification from what is often perceived as a burdensome chore into a valuable, career-enhancing, productivity-improving process that is simple and meaningful to everyone. Proper understanding and application of new cloud technologies and new configurable software platforms make this transformation affordable and accessible to all. We believe that's a win for everyone. Let us help you implement this vision for you and your professionals.