With the announcement that BPS has issued a call for petition for both Cardiology and Infectious Diseases Pharmacy, this edition of the BPS Leadership Blog is a good place to review the overall process for recognizing new specialties.

The typical, first step for consideration of a new pharmacy by BPS is to conduct a Role Delineation Study in the proposed area. BPS periodically reviews requests from national pharmacy organizations for practice areas William Ellis - BPS Executive Directorin which to conduct these studies and has funded a number of these in the past. The purpose of the role delineation study is to determine whether the practice area is based upon specialized knowledge of the pharmaceutical sciences, as well as specialized functions routinely performed by practitioners in the proposed specialty. The Role Delineation Study is led by a PhD trained psychometrician, includes a panel of pharmacy experts and is grounded with a validation survey of pharmacists who practice in the proposed specialty area.

If the role delineation study yields information suggestive that the practice could be recognized as a pharmacy specialty, BPS will then issue a call for petition to the profession. The petition should address, in detail, each of the criteria deemed necessary for a new specialty to be recognized by BPS. Those criteria are:

  • Need
  • Demand
  • Number/Time
  • Specialized Knowledge
  • Specialized Functions
  • Education and Training
  • Transmission of Knowledge

The petition review process is organized in three stages:

Stage 1 — Completeness
Following receipt of a petition, a preliminary review will be conducted by BPS to determine if the petition clearly addresses all criteria so that the petition may be released to the profession and the public for comment and further consideration. The purpose of this review is not to pass judgment on the petition as a whole, or on any of its parts, but to assure that there is sufficient information upon which the public and the profession may comment.

Stage 2 — Public Comment
If the petition is released for comment, appropriate news releases and correspondence are generated by BPS requesting comments in support of or in opposition to the petition.

BPS will determine the methods to solicit input from the pharmacy profession, other health professions, third-party payers, and the public. These methods can include written, electronic and live forums and/or the use of any other media deemed appropriate to receive comments.

Stage 3 — Review and Decision
The final evaluation and decision will take place during the first meeting of the full BPS Board, following the public comment period. The Board will review all matters of record concerning the petition, including any supplemental material submitted by the petitioner upon request of the Board or at the petitioner’s own discretion.

Approval of a petition is based on a balancing of all factors pertinent to the criteria. Compliance with several criteria may balance deficiencies in another criterion. The Board has set a preliminary timeline for the completion of these three stages to be six months.

Once a petition is approved and a new specialty recognized, BPS will issue a call for candidates to serve on the first specialty council for the new pharmacy specialty. Members of the specialty council should be considered subject matter experts in the specialty area. Once the Council is assembled, the process of developing the item bank for the examination begins as well as the establishment of eligibility and recertification criteria.

Overall this process takes approximately two years because it is well grounded and seeks broad input to determine new specialties. BPS is very pleased to be able to move forward with the call for petition in cardiology and infectious diseases and to conducting future role delineation studies in new practice areas as pharmacists’ specialized roles expand in response to changing societal needs.

William Ellis
Executive Director
Board of Pharmacy Specialties