Five factors to look for in a certified EHR specialist

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As the demand to certified electronic health record specialists (CEHRS) continues to escalate, healthcare organizations will have to take additional steps to ensure that potential candidates are right for the job. For starters, try quizzing them on a few common acronyms: HIPAA, HITECH, PQRI, MU. If they don't know what these jumbles of letters stand for, they may not be right for the job. 

EHR employment readiness requires training and knowledge of the healthcare industry and health information technology, Lena Feygin, executive vice president of New York City-based Alameda Services, told Healthcare IT News.

"We often see one or the other, but it isn't sufficient, said Feygin, who is also director of business development for Alameda, a consulting and training organization that specializes in workforce development and EHR training.

During the next decade, job growth for medical records and health information technicians is expected to grow more than 20 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To help address that demand, Alameda created a five-point EHR checklist to assess individuals' EHR workforce readiness:

1. They 'get' healthcare and have EHR expertise. Candidates for EHR training and CEHRS certification should have prior experience in either healthcare administration or information technology.

2. They studied with a curriculum approved by the National Healthcare Association (NHA), the governing body that provides CEHRS certification.

3. They obtained more hours of EHR training than the industry baseline. While the NHA requires 60 hours of training, Alameda Services suggests that additional training is needed so EHR students can spend hands-on time with more than one EHR system--making them more versatile with multiple products.

4. They're fluent in the language and acronyms of healthcare records compliance. This includes many commonly used terms such as HIPAA, HITECH, PQRI and Meaningful Use criteria.

5. They've learned multiple EHRs. Healthcare EHR staffers who have hands-on experience with more than one EHR are able to provide guidance to their healthcare practices about which one might be the best fit.

For more information:
- read the Healthcare IT News article 
- view the Alameda Services announcement

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