As part of the promise to meet the demand for quality patient care while providing exceptional support to its practitioners, BOC continues to evolve as a trusted resource for certification and accreditation in the orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) profession. On January 1, 2013, The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) changed its eligibility requirements for its orthotist and prosthetist certifications in accordance with standards set in what has become known as the Historic Agreement of 2008. These standards require graduation from an education program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
BOC went above and beyond those standards to require candidates to complete a residency approved by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE). One year later, BOC continues to maintain the new standards while continuing to expand its award-winning, customer-centric services.
The Historic Agreement was signed by the leaders of the national organizations focused on the clinical, business, and quality improvement aspects of the O&P professions, a group known as the O&P Alliance. The participating national organizations were: American Academy of Orthotics and Prosthetics (AAOP); American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics (ABC); American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA); and National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP).
BOC has since joined these organizations as a full voting member of the O&P Alliance, a coalition of the leading national organizations representing the orthotic and prosthetic profession. The O&P Alliance advocates for state and federal policies that improve the practice of orthotics and prosthetics and quality of services provided to patients who require these health care services.
James L. Hewlett, BOCO, BOC Board Chair, noted, “BOC’s involvement in the Alliance and our fidelity to the Historic Agreement demonstrates our commitment to the integrity of the O&P profession.”
After meeting the eligibility requirements, candidates for the orthotist or prosthetist certifications must pass three exams: a multiple-choice exam, a clinical-simulation exam, and a media-based practical exam. The media-based practical exam assesses candidates’ competence to perform the basic tasks of an orthotist or prosthetist. BOC is unique in allowing candidates to complete this part of the exam series from their own facility or residency site without having to bear large travel expenses or wait for infrequent opportunities to take a practical exam in person.
“Our commitment to provide trusted engagement and support to our certificants every step of the way drives us to continuously find ways to better-serve those who depend on us. We are able to support aspiring professionals while maintaining our allegiance to the standards established in the Historic Agreement,” BOC President and CEO, Claudia Zacharias, MBA, CAE, commented.
BOC continues to strive to make the certification process as customer-centric as possible. In addition to offering BOC certification exams every business day of the year and most Saturdays at testing locations across the country, results are provided instantly. And, BOC O&P certification candidates have the option to take their exams during their residency and become certified immediately following their residency programs.
In an effort to provide certificants with a personalized, continuing education (CE) experience, BOC recently launched an online Continuing Education Portal. After logging in to the Portal, BOC certificants are greeted with a customized view of educational opportunities within their certification type and geographic area. The positive certificant feedback has been incredible.
BOC also provides an online summary of CE credits earned, while highlighting the number of credits needed to fulfill requirements for that particular five-year CE cycle. Certificants enjoy the flexibility to complete CE requirements at their own pace during the cycle, and go online to record their CEs, print certificates, and renew their certifications.
Customer-friendly technological improvements to BOC’s website were recognized last week by the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world’s top awards for sales and customer service. The Stevie Awards include several of the world’s leading business awards, including the prestigious American Business AwardsSM and International Business AwardsSM. For the second consecutive year, BOC was recognized for outstanding customer service. BOC’s 2014 award is in the category of Best Use of Technology in Customer Service.