In the healthcare IT field, certification has a significant impact on salary. But the sheer number of health information technology (health IT) credentials available to today’s professionals makes it difficult to narrow down the choices. How do you decide which credential best suits your professional goals and aspirations? Below, explore five respected and widely-known healthcare IT certifications: Epic, CPHIMS, CAHIMS, CHTS, and CHISP.
Certified Associate of Health Information and Management Systems (CAHIMS)
What is the CAHIMS credential? Awarded by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), this healthcare IT certification demonstrates professional knowledge of health IT and management systems. CAHIMS is usually earned by entry-level professionals with five or fewer years of experience in the field.
Why is the CAHIMS beneficial? Though it’s designed for entry-level health IT professionals, systems analysts and health IT managers most often have the CAHIMS credential, according to HIMSS. It proves to current and future employers that an individual has professional health information technology knowledge and a commitment to career advancement.
How can one earn CAHIMS certification? To be eligible to sit for the 115-question CAHIMS certification exam, you need only a high school diploma or equivalent.
What is Epic certification? Epic Systems professional credentials can be earned by health IT specialists who implement and work on Epic electronic health record software used by hospitals and other healthcare organizations.
Why is Epic certification beneficial? This healthcare IT certification demonstrates your proficiency in one or more Epic software modules:
- ASAP: emergency room
- Beacon: medical oncology
- Cadence: scheduling and tracking patient appointments
- Cupid: cardiology
- EpiCare Ambulatory/Inpatient: clinical documentation, order entry, e-prescribing
- Kaleidoscope: ophthalmology
- OpTime/Anesthesia: scheduling and documentation for surgical procedures
- Prelude/ADT: patient registration system
- Radiant: radiology
- Stork: obstetrics
- Willow: pharmacy
Epic certification is difficult to achieve but highly sought-after because Epic software is so popular. Epic consultants who travel to hospitals and assist with Epic Systems implementations are in high demand. These positions are lucrative—in 2013, the average Epic consultant made $139,000.
How can one earn Epic certification? If you don’t work at Epic, you need to be sponsored by a healthcare employer to pursue Epic certification. Then, you must complete on-site training at Epic’s headquarters in Verona, Wisconsin and pass a proficiency exam. For more about Epic certification, see this UW graduate’s story. He earned the EpicCare Ambulatory credential and credited his Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Technology with preparing him for the certification process.
Certified Professional in Health Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS)
What is the CPHIMS credential? Also awarded by HIMSS, CPHIMS certification demonstrates an international standard of professional knowledge and competence in healthcare information and management systems.
Why is the CPHIMS beneficial? While the CAHIMS certification is typically earned by entry-level professionals, the CPHIMS healthcare IT certification is earned by experienced professionals. According to HIMSS, more than half of those with a CPHIMS credential are in a leadership role: chief information officers, managers, directors, or vice presidents of an IT or IS department; with CEOs, CMIOs, CNOs, CMOs, nurses, registered pharmacists, and other senior staff roles, as well. Top work environments for CPHIMS include hospitals (45%), healthcare consulting firms (16%), academic medical centers (11%), federal, state, and local government offices (8%) and more. Having CPHIMS certification both increases credibility and demonstrates professional knowledge.
How many people currently hold the CPHIMS credential? As of October 2018, 3,845 people hold the credential—85% in the United States and 15% in more than 30 different countries. Wisconsin has 87 professionals with the CPHIMS credential.
How can one earn CPHIMS certification? You must pass the 115-question certification exam to become CPHIMS certified. To be eligible for the exam, you must meet one of these requirements:
- A bachelor’s degree and five years of information and management systems experience, three of those years being in healthcare
- A graduate degree and three years of information and management systems experience, two of those years being in healthcare
Certified Healthcare Technology Specialist (CHTS)
What is the CHTS credential? CHTS certification, awarded by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), denotes one’s ability to effectively implement and manage the use of electronic health records. This includes being able to assess workflows, select hardware and software, work with vendors, install and test systems, and diagnose IT problems.
Why is the CHTS beneficial? For those seeking to manage and implement EHR systems, the CHTS credential demonstrates ability as well as commitment to the health IT industry. There are six separate CHTS exams, depending on which health IT workforce role you want to specialize in:
- Clinician/practitioner consultant
- Implementation manager
- Implementation support specialist
- Practice workflow and information management redesign
- Technical/software support staff
How can one earn CHTS certification? You must pass the CHTS certification exam, administered by AHIMA. It’s recommended you have some experience or training in health IT before sitting for the exam, but there are no official requirements.
Certified Health Informatics Systems Professional (CHISP)
What is the CHISP credential? This credential is awarded by the American Society of Health Informatics Managers (ASHIM) and demonstrates mastery of general technical healthcare industry knowledge in computer science, healthcare regulations, billing, data security, healthcare operations, data-mining, medical terminology, and other health IT areas.
Why is the CHISP beneficial? Healthcare professionals seeking IT mastery for career opportunities or IT professionals who want to get a foothold in the healthcare industry would benefit from becoming CHISP certified.
How can one earn CHISP certification? You must pass the 150-question CHISP certification exam. To qualify to sit for the exam, applicants must either complete the ASHIM Health IT Professional training program or have three years of IT experience.
Interested in starting or advancing your health IT career? University of Wisconsin offers an online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Technology. Start your journey here.
Questions about the UW degree program or HIMT field? Contact an enrollment adviser.