As someone who has been involved in healthcare information technology (HIT) for over a decade but new to academia, I’ve been asked numerous times by my academic healthcare colleagues if there is a certification for my students to pursue. The question comes from faculty leaders in departments such as physician therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, nursing as well as some members of the university senior leadership team. Among these groups, there is typically one predominant certification path for individuals who want to practice in these fields. This is not true, however, in the field of HIT. Rather, we have a number of certification options.
Begun a few years ago, the Certified Professional in Electronic Health Records or CPEHR provides a path of certification for those involved with EHRs. The certification is administered by Health IT Certification and provides “professional training and certification” for a number of different HIT related areas that include EHRs, HIT, HIE and “those responsible for the technical and business operations implementation of the Affordable Care Act Operating Rules and implementation of CAQH CORE Operating Rules and Certification involving operating rules administration (ORA).”
For those who are able to achieve certification, the CPEHR “indicates that the holder has mastered the common body of knowledge covering planning, implementation, [and] operation of EHR for knowledge management, quality improvement, patient safety, and care coordination.”
Certification is achieved after successfully passing a 100 question exam covering material from ten areas or “domains” of focus in the “CPEHR common body of knowledge.” This includes an understanding of the challenges and drivers for HIT, Health Care Organizational Structure, Legal and Regulatory Aspects, Readiness Assessment and implementation considerations including project management techniques, Change Management, Database Principles, Data Modeling, Data Dictionaries, Data Quality Management of Health Care, and many more areas.
Once individuals have passed the exam, they must recertify by attending Continuing Education activities such as “seminars, training programs, audio-conferences, journal clubs, and demonstrations sponsored by healthcare professional associations, societies, or other organizations . . . recognized for their contribution by healthcare professional associations, publishers, or other organizations”
According to Health IT Certification, the value of this certified professional has been recognized by “many employers . . . by sending not only teams of employees, but sending new employees in addition to those previously credentialed.”
As we move along the road to the electronic patient chart, having individuals with this certification can only benefit the profession.