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Where the Jobs Are: Demand for EHR/HIT Certifications

See: 2015 Where the Jobs Are Update.

Note: This was also a guest publication on emrandehr.com

There are dozens of EHR/HIT certification program and counting. A few years ago, I got a CPHIMS. I did it in hopes it would open some work doors. I thought it was useful, well developed and administered, etc., but going full time running the EHRSelector.com took me in a different direction. Still, I’ve wondered which certification programs offer the most opportunity and where are they located?

With help from John’s newly acquired Healthcare IT Central job board, I found answers to these questions. HealthcareITCentral has one of the largest, if not the largest collection of HIT positions. Using its advanced search, I looked for jobs, in the last 30, days that required specific certifications.

A few caveats about this review:

  • Each certification counts as one position. For example, if one job posting listed ComTIA, CPHIMS and CPEHR, I counted it as three jobs, one for each certification.
  • General certifications only. For practical reasons this report only covers general certifications that have a one word abbreviation. Finding other certifications, such as eClinicalWorks Certified, etc., requires searching for phrases, which HealthcareITCentral currently doesn’t support (or John needs to teach me how to do). No doubt Epic certification and Cerner certification would be high on this list if it was included.
  • Dynamics. The results I found for these certifications are a snapshot. The job market and the openings that HealthcareITCentral lists constantly change. What is true now, could change in a moment. However, I believe this can give you a good idea of the relative demand that exists.

Certifications Reviewed

Table I lists the certifications and for which I found at least one opening.

Table I

Certifications With Open Positions

1

CCA

9

CHTS

2

CCDP

10

CompTIA

3

CCS

11

CPEHR

4

CCS-P

12

CPHIMS

5

CEMP

13

CPHIT

6

CHDA

14

CPORA

7

CHPS

15

RHIA

8

CHSP

16

RHIT

 

Table II, lists the certifications that had no openings in the last 30 days. I also did a quick check to see if any of these had any jobs listed at all. It appears that there were no open positions for these certifications, though as I note above matters can quickly change.

Table II

Certifications Without Open Positions

1

CAHIMS

8

CMUP

2

CEOP

9

CPCIP

3

CHTP

10

CPHIT

4

CHTS

11

CPHP

5

CHTSP

12

CPORA

6

CICP

13

HWCP

7

CIPCP

Certification Demand

I found that the system listed 1,500 or so positions in the past month. See Chart I. Of those, 440 or 30 percent mentioned one of these certifications.

Of all the certifications, AHIMA’s were most in demand. AHIMA’s prominence among the certifications reviewed is remarkable. It’s three programs account for two thirds of the certification positions.

Its RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator) was mentioned 101 times. RHIA accounted for about 22 percent of the openings with RHIT (Registered Health Information Technician) slightly less at 94.

RHIA’s designed to show a range of managerial skills, rather than in depth technical ability. If you consider certifications proof of technical acumen, then the strong RHIA demand is a bit counter intuitive.

Where the RHIA has a broad scope, the close second, RHIT, is more narrowly focused on EHRs and their integrity.

In third place, but still with a substantial demand is CCS (Certified Coding Specialist), which as the name implies focuses on a specific ability.

Check out the top 5 certification job categories on Healthcare IT Central:
RHIT Jobs
RHIA Jobs
CCS Jobs
CompTIA Jobs
CCA Jobs

Certification Demand by Location

After looking at certification demand, I looked at demand by location. To do this I merged all the certification job openings into a single list. That is, I added those for RHIA, RHIT, etc., and then eliminated duplicates. This reduced the total from about 390 to 280.

The next step was to rank the states by their job numbers. Chart II for the top ten state openings shows this information two ways:

  • Blue Columns. Openings per state.
  • Green Columns. These show how a state’s jobs rank compared to its population share. For example, if a state is plus four then its jobs rank four levels above its population rank. Conversely, if a state is minus four, its share is four less than its population rank.

As you might expect, the states with the largest populations have the most jobs. California leads with 36 openings. However, there are some notable exceptions, such as Maryland.

Maryland has 21 jobs openings. This puts it fourth between Texas and New York. It is 15 ranks above where its population ranks it. Illinois, on the other hand has nine jobs. This puts it four ranks below its population standing.

 Chart II, Openings by State

Certifications are a response to the demand for persons with demonstrated skills. The question is whether a particular one will reward your time, cost and effort with something that is marketable. Demand alone can’t make that choice for you. Personal satisfaction can’t be discounted as a factor in any decision. I hope this short study may help you find the best fit for you.

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Appointment Type’s the Headwaters of Workflow

It’s a rare EHR that doesn’t include scheduling an appointment’s time and purpose. Usually, there’s a line for the patient, which doctor and an appointment type. Patient and doctor are straight forward, but practices may not take advantage of what appointment type can do for them.

Even having meaningful types can be difficult. One practice I worked with just wanted minutes as appointment types, 15, 30, etc. That took a while to work through, but we finally settled on Initial, Pre Op, etc., which made tracking their work a little more meaningful.

Many EHRs leave the subject at having categories or adding insurance requirements. Other EHRs do more and can save a lot of time and work. Rather than seeing appointment type as a handy pigeonhole for patient types, these see appointment type in a critical workflow role of reserving resources for an encounter.

For example, if you schedule a patient’s annual physical, you’ll need a room and someone to do vitals, weight, etc., and an EKG. If you’re a male doctor with a female patient, you’ll want to have a woman staffer scheduled for part of the exam, too.

Rather than schedule these ad hoc, some systems allow you to define the resources needed for the appointment type and schedule them as needed.

Greenway’s PrimeSuite, for example, does this. Here’s how it sets up a new appointment type:

  • Click the + sign under the appointment type tab to add the new appointment type
  • Once you click on the + sign, enter the appointment type in the yellow box
  • To the right of the appointment type name, click the drop down and pick the duration of the appointment type
  • Enter the abbreviation of the appointment type (this will appear on the schedule screen)
  • In box #2 – Enter the patient instructions for this appointment type. This is a friendly reminder to your staff as to what they need to instruct the patient to bring or do.
  • In box #3 – Pick the color of the appointment which will appear on the schedule screen
  • In box #4 – Select and move to the right which resource/provider/room can see this appointment type
  • In box #5 – Select the visit type – category as to which superbill you will want to pull for this appointment type
  • In box #6 – Enter
  •  an alternative appointment type that can be printed on confirmations for the patients. This can be the same as box #1, which is your appointment type
  • Click the Save disc at the top
  • Repeat steps until all of your appointment types are entered into the system

Greenways Appointment Type
Greenway’s PrimeSuite Appointment Type Definition Screen

Greenway’s Box No. 4 lets the user specify the resources that go with this appointment type. The user can assign personnel, equipment, rooms, etc. When selected the system checks for availability and reserves them for the needed times

Many practices will be shopping for a new EHR in the coming year. Their shopping lists would do well to include a robust appointment type. Of course, I encourage anyone who’s in the EHR market to use our free resource, EHRSelector.com. The Selector’s Practice Management category has these two appointment type features:

  • PM50 (895) Appointment Type can reserve resources, for example, room, equipment.
  • PM51 (896) Appointment Type can schedule supporting personnel, such as technicians, aides etc.
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