Healthcare IT Certifications: Do You Need One?By Chris Talbot | Posted 2011-03-09 Email Print
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As the healthcare industry makes the transition from paper-based systems to electronic health records, plenty of VARs, technology vendors and others have recognized a big opportunity to assist with the change. But do you need a specialized healthcare IT certification to help you stand out from the growing crowd?
The healthcare industry’s transition from paper-based records and legacy computer systems to modern electronic health records (EHR) is creating new opportunities for vendors and channel partners alike. Recognizing the emerging trend, some organizations are even developing certifications around healthcare IT skills and providing training and exams for EHR and other healthcare technology. However, the certifications available are still flying fairly low on the radar and there’s a question mark hanging over the need for such certifications.
And it depends on who you ask. For instance, CompTIA is developing just such a certification, and representatives at that organization believe it will help individuals and solution providers stand out from the crowd that is trying to usher physicians into a new technological era.
However David Foote co-founder, chief research officer and CEO of Foote Partners, which tracks more than 200 IT certifications and credentials, doesn't see the need for such a certification. Foote Partners isn’t yet tracking any IT certifications specifically related to healthcare, he told Channel Insider.
"It’s very interesting to me that somebody would want to do that. I’m not aware of many certifications that are attached to industries rather than technologies or particular solutions," Foote said.
Foote noted that he is aware of and follows organizations such as Epic Systems that specialize in EHR and healthcare IT deployments, but even vendor-specific certifications haven’t appeared there yet. Most IT certifications in the healthcare industry are the traditional ones from the likes of Microsoft, Cisco Systems and other IT vendors that sell heavily into the healthcare space, but those certifications are the same ones being attained by IT professionals throughout the IT workforce.
Although Foote noted there is a demand for IT professionals with EHR skills and experience, he’s not seeing a demand for certifications in the area. In fact, Foote Partners’ research indicates a decreasing interest in certifications overall, with average salaries based on certifications continuing on a downward trend.
"You don’t need to be certified to demonstrate your knowledge in any one area. You don’t have to be certified. In fact, the world has moved away from certifications to some degree over the last three to four years," Foote said.
With economic recovery dollars available from the government, though, some organizations are seeing an opportunity for IT professionals with health IT skills to stand out from the crowd. One of those organizations is CompTIA (www.comptia.org), which is currently developing the CompTIA Healthcare IT for Electronic Health Records program and certification.