The number of BPS specialties now stands at eleven following the merger of the Certified Geriatric Pharmacist credential with existing BPS specialties and the approval of Cardiology and Infectious Diseases Pharmacy as specialties. The growth in specialties parallels the growth of PGY2 residencies and more importantly follows the increasing responsibilities that pharmacists have as part of an interdisciplinary health care team. I want to use this month’s blog to provide an update on both the new and evolving specialties.

Geriatric Pharmacy – The geriatric pharmacy specialty certification will be fully integrated with BPS by December 31, 2017. The title has changed from Certified Geriatric Pharmacists (CGP) to Board Certified Geriatric Pharmacist (BCGP). Credential holders may use either title for the balance of 2017. There is also a new content outline under development for the geriatric specialty and this will be utilized in Spring 2018 examination along with the transition from a three-option multiple choice, 200 item examination to a four-part multiple choice, 175 item examination. Also in early 2018 BPS will reissue certificates to all geriatrics credential holders. In 2018 BPS will also administer this examination during the same testing windows as all other BPS specialties. Later this year a Geriatric Pharmacy Specialty Council will be appointed and they will take on responsibility for managing the specialty beginning January 1, 2018 but will also assist with the completion of the integration during the balance of 2017. Additional information regarding the transition can be found by following this link.

Cardiology and Infectious Diseases Pharmacy – The announcement regarding the approval of these specialties was made on February 14, 2017, later this month the BPS Board will appoint the first specialty councils for these practice areas. The specialty councils are charged with item writing and editing, exam development, setting eligibility criteria and establishing recertification standards. BPS has already begun item development and will do so over the next twelve months with the goal of administering the first examinations in Fall 2018.   The Added Qualifications program in Cardiology and Infectious Diseases Pharmacy will also be discontinued after December 31, 2017.

Sterile Compounding – BPS has completed the Role Delineation Study in this practice area and is waiting to receive a petition for review. It is anticipated that the petition will be received this summer from various pharmacy organizations and a decision could be issued by BPS by the end of the year. If approved, the first examination could be administered in twelve to twenty-four months.

Solid Organ Transplantation – BPS has reviewed the Role Delineation Study for Solid Organ Transplantation and issued a call for petition on May 19, 2017. A petition will need to be developed and submitted to BPS by various pharmacy organizations. There is no projected timeline for the submission of the petition at the present time.

Emergency Medicine – BPS will conduct a role delineation study to explore emergency medicine as a specialty in late August 2017. A call for subject matter experts to participate in this activity has been posted on the BPS website. The role delineation study will take four to six months to complete. Once completed, the BPS Board of Directors will review the report and if it yields evidence suggestive that emergency medicine could be a pharmacy specialty, BPS will issue a call for petition.

Critical Care and Pediatric Pharmacy – The specialty councils for each of these areas conducted role delineation studies this past year to update the content outlines. The new content outlines will be utilized during the Fall 2018 examinations and will be posted to the BPS website later this year.

The first six months of 2017 has been very productive and I want to thank the Board, staff, council members and hundreds of pharmacists who share their time, talent and energy with BPS to improve patient care by promoting the recognition and value of specialized training, knowledge, and skills in pharmacy and specialty board certification of pharmacists.

 

William Ellis
Executive Director
Board of Pharmacy Specialties