IAHCSMM now accepting applications for new endoscope certification program pilot exam

Oct. 24, 2017

Few areas of sterile processing have seen such rapid and necessary change in recent years as endoscope reprocessing. For this reason, the International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management (IAHCSMM) partnered with industry experts and leaders in the field to publish the Endoscope Reprocessing Manual in July 2017. In addition, IAHCSMM is launching a new certification program to help ensure that those who process endoscopes are aware of evolving industry standards and the newest advancements in endoscope cleaning, decontamination, and sterilization.

IAHCSMM is currently accepting applications to participate in a discounted pilot exam for the new Certified Endoscope Reprocessor (CER) certification. The pilot exam is being offered for $75, a $50 discount off the standard exam fee, and testing will take place from December 1-16, 2017 (all applications must be received by no later than November 30, 2017). Following the pilot, ongoing testing, at the normal rate of $125, will be available in Spring 2018.

CER certification will not require Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification, but will require a minimum of three months of recent experience reprocessing endoscopes. Per the exam blueprint, the CER exam will test candidates’ knowledge in the following content areas:

  • Microbiology and Infection Control;
  • Endoscope Purpose, Design and Structure;
  • Work Area Design;
  • Endoscope Reprocessing Steps;
  • Endoscope Handling, Transport and Storage;
  • Endoscope Tracking, Repair and System Maintenance; and
  • Human Factors That Impact Endoscope Systems.

Certification development

IAHCSMM began developing the endoscope certification program in September 2015. This process began with a meeting between representatives from the Association, IAHCSMM’s Certification Council, and test developer, Prometric. During this meeting, a two-year timeline was established for the exam’s development. A series of test development meetings were then held to create, edit, and approve the outline and content for the CER exam.

An extensive job task analysis study was conducted with the help of numerous Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) who are leaders in the field of endoscope reprocessing. This in-depth research study, conducted in summer 2016, had SMEs meeting to define the tasks, knowledge, and skills most pertinent to endoscope reprocessing. Their findings were used to create a profession-wide survey that was completed by more than 1,000 CS professionals. Survey respondents’ participation helped validate the knowledge and skills deemed most vital to the new certification. A detailed analysis of the responses allowed SMEs to finalize an exam blueprint in fall 2016, and also determine the relative importance of each content area of the exam; this helped dictate how many exam questions should be written to each objective.

With the exam blueprint in place, more meetings were held to write, review, and approve content for the certification exam. Test developers trained additional SMEs to create and edit questions during item writing and review workshops held in summer 2017. During these meetings, more than 400 exam questions were developed and reviewed for potential use on the exam. This fall, test developers compiled a draft exam form, which a new group of SMEs reviewed and approved in a final check for accuracy, difficulty and appropriateness.

Final analysis and ongoing testing

Upon conclusion of the pilot exam period, two final test development meetings will be held in January and February 2018. An item analysis workshop will provide a statistical and analytical review of the test questions to ensure the quality and accuracy of the exam results. SMEs will review pilot test takers’ responses for each question and flag any questions that may require review before counting toward an applicant’s final score. Then, a final group of experts will participate in a standard setting/cut score (SS/CS) workshop to determine the acceptable level of knowledge and skills that can be expected for passing candidates, and to provide a final review of each exam item and the exam, as a whole. Once a consensus has been reached on candidates’ expected level of knowledge and skills, the SME ratings and difficulty predations will be analyzed to provide a recommended passing grade, or cut score, for the exam. Finally, that cut score recommendation will be reviewed and approved by IAHCSMM’s Certification Council.

Once the cut score has been approved, the pilot exam results can be graded and released (by the end of February 2018), and the final exam form can be delivered (by the end of March 2018). Ongoing, everyday testing will begin with the release of the final exam form, as will immediate pass/fail notifications.

To learn more about the CER certification, pilot program, and exam application process, please visit the “Certification” section of www.iahcsm.org

About the Author

Julie E. Williamson

Julie Williamson is the  IAHCSMM Communications Director.

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