The concept of “competence” is a term used to describe an individual's ability to perform a discipline, answering all requirements sufficient to perform all phases with adequate skills. The competent health professional performs their duties accurately and makes correct judgments. Competence must be demonstrated as the professional enters into practice and throughout their career. Competence is the intangible end product of certification. It means fewer errors and less violations of patient trust.
In this era of increasing regulations, standardization within public and private agencies has become a necessity to assure effectiveness in the healthcare system. Agencies in the United States Public Health Service, Health Care Financing Administration, state regulatory department and licensing agencies, and leaders within the profession have joined in the effort to raise and apply meaningful standards for individual professional achievement.
In all cases, the public should be protected from incompetent practitioners acting under the guise of competency. To assure competence, some appropriate measures of qualification should be applied to healthcare professionals. There are credentialing roles to be performed in both the public and private sectors. The healthcare delivery is too dynamic and important to consumers for healthcare professions to be utterly unregulated, yet they cannot be burdened with inflexible, stifling requirements.