With the turning of another year, many of us will be assessing our personal and professional lives, considering what we want to be when we grow up. Because most of my success in Healthcare IT has come from certifications, I always have my eyes open for the certs that I feel could provide the best benefit for the cost and time invested.
This year, I’m focusing a lot on security because this is really a big deal in Healthcare IT. The incentive for health data is high, as data thieves get 10 times more on the black market for health data than for credit card numbers. In 2016, tens of millions of patient records were exposed to some form of risk, and several hospital systems had their data held by ransomware. With that, let’s look at my list of Healthcare IT certifications for 2017.
1. HCISPP – HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner
The HCISPP certification is managed by the (ISC)2 organization – the nonprofit International Information System Security Certification Consortium, Inc.
The HCISPP certification covers expertise in these six areas:
- Healthcare Industry
- Regulatory Environment
- Privacy and Security in Healthcare
- Information Governance and Risk Management
- Information Risk Assessment
- Third Party Risk Management
HCISPP candidates need a minimum of two years of paid full-time work experience in one domain of these areas. The exam has 125 multiple choice questions, and requires a 70% passing grade. Source: (ISC)2 HCISPP.
2. CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional
Also from the (ISC)2 organization is the next level in Information Security. Unlike the HCISPP certification, the CISSP designation is not specifically related to Healthcare. It has a higher technical focus, commands a higher pay scale, and covers these eight areas:
- Security and Risk Management
- Asset Security
- Security Engineering
- Communications and Network Security
- Identity and Access Management
- Security Assessment and Testing
- Security Operations
- Software Development Security
CISSP candidates need to have a minimum of five years of work experience in two or more of the eight areas of expertise. Like the HCISPP certification, the CISSP 250 question exam has a passing score of 70%, and there are re-certification requirements. Source: (ISC)2 CISSPP.
3. CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician
This certification comes from a fairly well-respected organization that developed the A+, Network+, Security+ certifications, as well as many others. They are geared towards beginners in IT, and provide a decent foundation to build on. Some of the areas of study for the Healthcare certification are:
- Data flow in Health IT
- Regulatory Requirements
- IT Operations
- Medical Business Operations
The exam has 75 questions to be answered in 60 minutes with a passing score of 650 on a scale of 900. Source: CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician
4. Health Informatics Certificate Programs
It wasn’t too long ago that we all heard the news that the for-profit ITT Technical Institute closed its doors. This sheds new light on the option of pursuing Healthcare IT certification courses through traditional two-year and four-year colleges. Just about all public universities offer these courses now with certificates awarded with as few as 24 credits. Areas of focus include:
- Medical Terminology
- Healthcare Database Design
- Healthcare IT Regulations
- Information Systems Analysis and Design
- Introduction to Project Management
This continues to be a great option for 2017 and beyond. There’s no reason to consider for-profit colleges.
5. Certified Professional in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CPHIMS)
This is a certification offered by HIMSS, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. This organization really is the premier authority source for Healthcare IT. They have many contributors at very high levels, and are known for a spirit of excellence. The exam is 115 questions, and certification is required every three years. Areas of study include:
- General (Healthcare Technology Environments)
- Systems (Analysis, Design, Selection, Implementation, Support, Testing and Evaluation, and Security)
- Administration (Leadership and Management)
It does however have some fairly steep prerequisites that will shut out newcomers to Healthcare IT. You need either a four-year degree plus five years of IT and management systems experience (three being in Healthcare), or a Graduate degree plus three years of IT and management systems experience, two being in Healthcare. Source: Certified Professional in Healthcare Information & Management Systems (CPHIMS)
6. CAHIMS (Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems)
The CAHIMS certification is a junior-level version of the CPHIMS, and is much easier to qualify for. All you need is a high school diploma. The exam is 115 questions, and some of the areas of study are:
- Organizational Environment
- Technology Environment