Credentialing to Improve Health Outcomes and Save Lives in Latin America

Maricarmen Smith-Martinez, a Bixal Program Manager, and I recently had the honor of facilitating a two-day certification exam question review session in Miami—part of a credentialing initiative that could play an important role in saving lives across Latin America.

Attendees at the certification exam question review session.

The session was organized by FLAUS, made up of societies of ultrasound professionals in 13 member Latin American countries, in cooperation with ARDMS, the primary credentialing body of U.S.-based sonography professionals. The two organizations convened a dozen renowned Latin American physicians, specialists in ultrasound, to review exam questions for a pilot certification exam to be delivered in Peru and several other countries next year. By standardizing practices, FLAUS sees the credentialing process as key to improving health outcomes in Latin America.

Professional credentialing programs have been in place for decades in the United States. On the office walls of any doctor or attorney you’ll likely see proof of competency through accredited certification. And, raising professional standards of practice through certification is on the rise in the U.S. and Latin America.

Bixal recently developed a new certification exam and online training course for U.S.-based housing counselors for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The exam requirement came out of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and will be offered in both English and Spanish.

The certification exam development process is quite complex and lengthy. Valid and reliable exams come out of a rigorous process, with multi-tiered question review sessions, followed by a pilot exam launch. The entire process can take upwards of two years.

Bixal is actively seeking opportunities to continue to be of service on certification exam development initiatives in the U.S. and Latin America.