The Patient Advocate Certification Board’s 2020-2021 Job Task Analysis Study

The Patient Advocate Certification Board, an organization chartered to develop and maintain the Board Certified Patient Advocate Credential  is conducting a job task analysis study to be completed in the summer and fall of 2021. A job task analysis is designed to obtain descriptive information about the tasks performed in the job of patient advocate and the knowledge needed to competently perform those tasks.


All professional organizations supporting specific professions or industries must continually seek to define roles and functions in a way that uses the evidence-based literature and knowledge from practice to identify the roles and functions of the profession. The information is then used to give guidance to the construction or revision of the Body of Knowledge. In fact, the establishment of a valid job analysis is essential to the integrity of a credentialing program and its associated exam.

The job analysis translates practice into a usable format for test development and delineates the important tasks and knowledge deemed necessary for competent practice. In other words, a job analysis helps ensure that a certification exam is both job related and has content validity. The Job Task Analysis is the tool that links the content of the certification exam to field identified important job tasks and is an essential component in establishing the content validity of a credentialing exam. (Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing, 2014).

The purpose of the PACB 2020 Job Analysis Study is to identify and validate tasks and knowledge important in the work performed by patient advocates. The results of the study will be utilized to create test specifications that will guide the development of new versions of the BCPA exam. The study results will also serve as a framework for PACB regarding content selection of continuing education for re-certification.


Tasks are the individual functions, whether mental or physical, necessary to carry out an aspect of a specific job.

Knowledge Skills Abilities

KSAs include the physical and mental capabilities that a practitioner must possess to perform a job competently, ethically, and safely.

The Purpose of the Study

‘The purpose of the PACB 2020 Job Analysis Study is to identify and validate tasks and knowledge important in the work performed by patient advocates. The results of the study will be utilized to create test specifications that will guide the development of new versions of the BCPA exam.’ 


A variety of methods exist for conducting a job analysis. The most accepted practice is to use multiple sources of job information and then check for agreement among subject matter experts (in this case professional patient advocates). In preparation for the PACB Job Task Analysis, several sources of information about entry level practice were considered including the groundwork established by the founding board of PACB, an extensive literature review, a comprehensive inventory of patient advocate job descriptions and review of government databases (ONet and OPM). From these data sources, an inventory of job related tasks and knowledge statements was compiled for review by the initial work group comprised of the following PACB Board Members.

Job Task Analysis Work group

Christine North, PhD, MPH, BCPA

JTA Committee Chair

Malynnda Johnson, PhD

Heidi Kummer, MD, MPH, BCPA

Chair Certification Committee

Karen Carasik, Esq., J.D.

Melissa Cardine, MSN, RN, BCPA

President, PACB

Lea Christo, MSW, LICSW

Subject Matter Experts

A job analysis consists of a thorough analysis of the job duties and knowledge, skills, abilities, and personal characteristics (KSAPCs) required for success in a certain position. Job experts or subject matter experts (SME) are qualified job incumbents who perform, train, or supervise persons employed in the target position. In general job experts chosen should collectively represent the demographics of the industry population (with respect to gender, age, race, years of experience, etc.).They should be experienced and active in the position they represent. Seasoned job experts will have a good understanding of the position, however, it is also beneficial to include relatively inexperienced job experts to integrate a “newcomer’s perspective” particularly in emerging professions like patient advocacy. In addition to demographic diversity, the pool of SMEs should also represent the various work settings and areas of expertise.


Activities in Conducting a Job Analysis 


  • Collaboration with subject matter experts to ensure diverse representation of the tasks and knowledge in patient advocacy
  • Survey development and construction
  • Survey dissemination
  • Compilation of survey results
  • Test specifications development



Survey development

Survey research is an efficient and effective way to identify the tasks and knowledge that are important in the field of patient advocacy. The tasks and knowledge statements included on the survey cover 6 task domains and 5 knowledge domains.

  • Task Domain 1: Delivering patient advocacy services (35 Task Statements)
  • Task Domain 2: Access Finance and Management of Healthcare Services (25 Task Statements)
  • Task Domain 3: Coordinating Services (43 Task Statements)
  • Task Domain 4: Adhering to Ethical, Legal and Practice Standards (10 Task Statements)
  • Task Domain 5: Research Referral Treatment Options (6 Task Statements)
  • Task Domain 6: Hospital or Facility Based Tasks (34 Task Statements)

Regarding the 6 Task Domains, participants are asked to rate each of the 153 job task statements using a five-point scale – (0 = of no importance to 4 = very important) and (0 = Never do this to 4 = I do this very often).

  • Knowledge Domain 1: Healthcare Access Finance and Management (22 Knowledge Statements)
  • Knowledge Domain 2: Psychosocial Concepts and Support Systems (20 Knowledge Statements)
  • Knowledge Domain 3: Patient Advocacy Skills and Abilities (28 Knowledge Statements)
  • Knowledge Domain 4: Ethical, Legal and Practice (9 Knowledge Statements)
  • Knowledge Domain 5: Communication and Interpersonal Relationships (14 Knowledge Statements)

Regarding the 5 knowledge domains, participants are asked to rate each of the 93 knowledge areas using a five- point scale – (0 = of no importance to 4 = very important) and (0 = Never do this to 4 = I do this very often).


Survey Distribution

The survey distribution is done via anonymous link to the questionnaire and circulated to patient advocates through convenience sampling using snowball sampling techniques.  The survey is sent to known patient advocates using distribution lists from patient advocate organizations and through patient advocates who have known connections to other patient advocates.  All advocates who complete the survey are then asked to please share the questionnaire with other advocates they know who would be willing to complete the survey. Some individuals may receive the survey multiple times.  Each individual should only complete the survey once. Subsequent requests can simply be forwarded to other patient advocates or ignored.

Use of Survey Data

Once the survey data has been collected and compiled with the assistance of psychometricians and statisticians, a full report of the job task analysis will be written, published, and made available to the patient advocate community. The information collected will be used to construct a competency-based framework (for a brief discussion about competency-based framework, see FAQs) which will provide the most up-to-date information about the knowledge and skills that informs the content of the certification exam for the Board Certified Patient Advocate certification.

Additionally, the results of the job task analysis will be published in academic journals, on the PACB website, and in other relevant locations to help publicize the important work that patient advocates are doing on a regular basis and the evidence that supports that work. For additional information, see the FAQs on the PACB website.


The Survey

The survey will take approximately 60 minutes to complete. If you are unable to complete in one setting, you may pick up where you left off.

All demographic data will be used only for statistical analysis and will only be reported in aggregate. No identifying information will be used in any manner.