Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Certification in Health IT: valuable or veneer?

The need for seasoned individuals with formal training in Health Informatics is critical to the success of Electronic Medical Records and related clinical IT initiatives. Numerous universities have created formal training programs in Health Informatics as a result. However, entreprenurial individuals are also attempting to create private training and certification:

    Health IT Certification announced today its Common Body of Knowledge Outline for Certified Professional in Electronic Health Records (CPEHR) and Certified Professional in Health Information Technology (CPHIT) training. Health IT Certification provides professional training and certification for those responsible for planning, selecting, implementing, and managing electronic health records (EHR) and other health information technology (HIT).

Onsite training consists of three-day sessions covering a broad range of topics in health informatics.

    The certification exam for the CPEHR (Certified Professional in Electronic Health Records) contains 75 multiple choice items from all eight domains in the CPEHR common body of knowledge (I - VIII). Candidates have 90 minutes in which to complete the exam. A passing score of 70 percent must be achieved to earn the CPEHR. The certification exam for the CPHIT (Certified Professional in Health Information Technology) contains 100 multiple choice items from all ten domains in the CPHIT common body of knowledge (I - X). Candidates have 120 minutes in which to complete the exam. A passing score of 70 percent must be achieved to earn the CPHIT.

One wonders how much critical knowledge can be imparted in a few days compared to several years of study and applied experience in academic training programs. One also wonders how the "diplomas" received from the several-day training courses will affect hiring of personnel into leadership roles in clinical IT, in an industry where cost-cutting seems paramount.

Is this another face of the "Medical Instamatics" phenomenon, where anyone who has done something IT-related in healthcare might be viewed as an "Informatics specialist"? The Medical Instamatics phenomenon is a subcategory of the dysfunction in medicine where generic managers with no biomedical experience are deemed qualified for leadership roles at the executive level and beyond.

-- SS

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