Specialty Certification for ENT Managers and Administrators Is Needed Now More Than Ever

August 2020 – Vol. 39, No. 7

The Administrator Support Community for ENT (ASCENT) developed a certification program in 2005, the Certification in Otolaryngology Practice Management (COPM), to set the bar for ENT practice management. The program was developed to test competency and knowledge in six key domains of ENT practice management. They include basic ENT knowledge, finance and accounting, marketing, operations, technology, and human resources.

This program has been successful over the years. Practice management has become increasingly more complex and ENT practices need an administrator who can address the many varying issues that arise in today’s practice. That is where certification comes in. While daunting to those who have been out of school for a while, the exam consists of 150 questions in all six core domains with varied percentages (Table 1). The exam is online, which allows the candidate to test in the convenience of their home or workplace.

Why should you have your manager or administrator certify?

First and foremost, lifelong learning.  Healthcare is changing at lightning speed, and so the administrator needs to keep up with the new compliance issues, regulatory issues, laws, and trends affecting practices today. ASCENT believes in lifelong learning, and this certification brings personal satisfaction and increased knowledge stimulation to the candidate. The process of studying or reviewing for the certification exam provides a source of professional development that increases the candidate’s knowledge base regardless of their experience level. The certification also demonstrates their commitment to your practice, assesses their knowledge, and brings increased value to your practice, physician(s), staff, and patients.

How does this certification process work? 

First, there is a short application. Once accepted, the examinee can register to take the exam. ASCENT offers self-assessment exams, a resource manual, and study notes to help the applicant prepare. The exam is timed for a maximum of four hours and can be taken from any computer—but not a tablet or phone—at the candidate’s convenience. There is a web block-out to prevent examinees from looking up answers. Exam scores are given immediately after completion via email.

Table 1

After certification is complete, those certified are expected to obtain continuing education credits to recertify every two years. Continuing education can be obtained in a variety of ways: through attending ASCENT or other practice management meetings, writing practice management articles, presenting at meetings or webinars, and writing test questions, to name a few. The other option is to retest.

The certification process validates an administrator’s knowledge that equates to success in a leadership role and the ability to manage an ENT practice professionally. Isn’t that what you need in your practice today?

More recently, we were asked to extend certification for vendors who go into a patient office so that they would have additional credentials signifying that they are knowledgeable in practice management and understand what goes on in an ENT practice. Therefore, utilizing the same framework, ASCENT developed the Certification in Otolaryngology Practice Management-Corporate (COPM-C), which tests for competency in ENT practice management. This program has been successful and well-received. In fact, many of those who have obtained the certification maintain that the credential actually was recognized as a positive when they are in the ENT practice. Don’t you want your vendors to understand how practices operate so they can help you make the right choices in products and services needed in your office?

Find out more about ASCENT at www.askASCENT.org. Ask your administrator to join Administrator Support Community for ENT (ASCENT), which—in addition to resources and education—provides a network to help you work through common practice issues. Find out more about ASCENT’s certification at www.askASCENT.org/COPM.