CompTIA Introduces Healthcare IT CertificationBy Chris Talbot | Print
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?
In January, CompTIA announced it was looking for EHR subject matter experts to help develop a health IT certification, but the concept for the certification actually started to take shape in 2009 following the Economic Recovery Act’s introduction. According to Gretchen Koch, senior director of workforce development programs at CompTIA, there was an expectation that the health IT technician field would experience growth of between 50,000 and 200,000 new jobs. The new EHR systems would have to be planned, deployed and then maintained, so the jobs also would not be going away.
CompTIA is a strong supporter of education and certifications (its own and vendor-specific ones), and so it’s not surprising the association began working towards creating a healthcare IT credential. The certification will go through its next review between March 14 and 18, and CompTIA expects to launch the certification program later this year.
"It’s very important for the successful transition. It’s very important for the doctors, who if they don’t make the transition, will be penalized in terms of the amount of money they get back from the government for Medicare and Medicaid. It’s very important for the health information exchanges that the country is looking to set up in order to make healthcare more effective, but also to just cut the costs of healthcare," Koch said.
The transition of medical records from paper to digital format requires specialized knowledge and skills, and a certification can prove to employers or clients that a technician has the appropriate skills, she said.
"There have been certificates in health IT from the healthcare side for a long time. Organizations like AHIMA and HIMSS have been putting out health IT credentials from the healthcare side for quite some time. As far as I know, CompTIA’s going to be one of the first to do it from the IT side of health," Koch said.
According to Koch, the proper integration of EHR data and systems is all about providing meaningful use for doctors and other medical personnel. When healthcare professionals are looking for an integrator who can develop the systems in an appropriate way, certifications will enable them to identify integrators who have been trained and know how to do it.