Just recently, Healthcare IT News/HEI Watch published an interview with Alisa Ray, CEO of the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) in which she revealed that her organization is exiting the Electronic Health Records (EHR) certification business, and will concentrate on advisory services and though leadership going forward. This confirms a strong suspicion I'd formed when recently updating a survey of leading Healthcare IT (HIT) certifications for Tom's IT Pro, and shows that despite strong demand and rapid growth in Healthcare IT, not all certifications (or the programs they inhabit, or sponsors who deliver them) are made alike.
On the wild frontier of Healthcare IT, not all that glitters is truly gold.
[Image credit: Shutterstock 150531476 © Hilch]
In checking over the details for the ONC HIT certification recently, we noticed that details were hard to come by, and found ourselves wondering if and when this credential might go by the wayside. Now, it's confirmed that CCHIT is departing the certification business altogether. It is important, however, to observe that CCHIT has been certifying systems to check to ensure that integrated electronic health records capabilities, interoperability and security complied with US government mandates for such things under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. This is different from organizations that certify individuals with expertise in related concepts, systems, integration methods and tools, and so forth.
However, we also discovered that the American Society of Health Informatics Managers (ASHIM) was offering the CHISP (Certified Healthcare Informatics Systems Professional) credential without really backing it up with much detail, either. Upon further investigation, we discovered that much detail was simply not available, and that ASHIM actually now recommends other HIT certifications (HIMSS: CAHIMS and CPHIMS) to parties interested learning more about their CHISP!
All of this indicates a bit of a gold rush situation surrounding healthcare in general, and healthcare IT in particular, in the sense that there are lots of prospectors out there in the hills and valleys of the healthcare landscape, frantically panning for such gold as they can find. That's why I strongly urge IT professionals interested in healthcare-related IT certifications to stick to those from large, well-established (and well-known) organizations like CompTIA (HIT), the Health IT Certification LLC (CPHIT, among others), EMRApproved.com's Certified HIT, and the American Healthcare Information Management Association's credentials (which requires a college degree from an appropriately accredited institution whose training programs and content comply with the AHIMA guidelines).
It's a wild, wacky, and sometimes loosey goosey frontier where Healthcare IT is concerned, so it's wise to vet the programs you might consider pursuing to establish credibility in that sphere. In addition to making sure the sponsor is both legit and financially sound, that also means checking with practicing professionals in the field about their certs to make sure that the consensus reaction to some specific credential is more like "Oh yeah, that's a good credential" rather "Huh!? Never heard of that one..."