Certifications are the hallmark of any quickly evolving field, and obtaining them demonstrates your dedication to furthering your professional knowledge and skill set. “Certifications are the way we at HIMSS provide a stepping stone for those entering the health information and technology industry, or to provide a roadmap for more seasoned professionals,” said Morgean Hirt, director of certifications at HIMSS. Currently, HIMSS offers three certifications:
- CAHIMS – Certified Associate in Healthcare Information and Management Systems
- CPHIMS – Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems
- CPHIMS-CA – Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems – Canada
All three certifications span three main content areas:
- General IT and healthcare environment knowledge
- Systems knowledge (analysis, design, selection, implementation, testing and evaluation, privacy and security)
- Administration (leadership and management)
Anyone meeting the eligibility requirements can participate in HIMSS certification programs and exams; membership is not a requirement (though if you are not already, we highly encourage you to become a member so you have expanded access to valuable learning tools).
If you’re new to the field and/or have limited professional experience, obtaining the CAHIMS certification is a great way to expand and diversify your industry knowledge. Recent graduates can use this to polish up their resumes and more experienced professionals can keep up with the ever-changing industry – especially if you’ve had less direct information technology experience.
The entry-level certification program requires a high school diploma or equivalent and the exam content spans general, foundational knowledge about the industry. Last June, the certification program extended its reach outside North America. As a result, there are now 600+ active CAHIMS certificants in more than eight countries across the globe.
What the demographics look like: Active CAHIMS certificants possess a wide variety of job roles across the industry, including analysts, consultants, nurses, chief information officers and more. Most work in hospital settings (35 percent), but CAHIMS certificants also come from a wide variety of settings including academic medical centers, educational institutions, healthcare consulting firms and vendor companies.
CPHIMS and CPHIMS-CA
The CPHIMS certification is designed for professionals with proven industry experience and is considered the flagship of HIMSS certifications.
The CPHIMS-CA certification spans the same advanced industry content on the exam; the only difference is an additional 50-question module which tests the healthcare environment and regulatory content specific to Canada. The CPHIMS-CA is the product of HIMSS’s partnership with Digital Health Canada.
To be eligible for these certifications, you’ll need:
A bachelor’s degree from accredited college or university AND five or more years of information and management systems experience; three of them in a healthcare setting.
A graduate degree or higher from an accredited college/university AND three years of information and management systems experience, with two of those in a healthcare setting.
The oldest and the most active certification program offered by HIMSS, the certification has an international reach of 32 countries across the globe. Currently, there are approximately 3,500 CPHIMS certificants who are active and consistently renewing their certification.
What the demographics look like: Job roles of active CPHIMS certificants include executive-level health care professionals, analysts, consultants, nurses and pharmacists, to name a few. Nearly half of CPHIMS certificants are from hospital settings but many also work in consulting or academia.
The Value of HIMSS Certifications
Are getting certifications really that important in this industry? The answer: a resounding yes. In a field experiencing such vast change, it’s important to possess a standard body of knowledge and an up-to-date skill set that shows you’re well informed and well prepared for what’s ahead in your career.
Many HIMSS staff members have also jumped on board to obtain these certifications themselves, proving the value extends far beyond those who work in strictly medical or healthcare settings.
“Studying for and taking the exam was a great way to become more knowledgeable about health IT,” said Josh Roll, associate manager, congressional affairs, HIMSS. “As a result, I’m now able to better engage with HIMSS members and understand more of the issues they face. It’s led me to be a more productive and valued member of the HIMSS government relations team.”
Need more reasons to obtain a HIMSS certification?
- You’ll establish a standard body of knowledge which demonstrates your growing expertise of health information and technology subject matter.
- You’re setting yourself apart from others in a competitive marketplace.
- You’ll expand your opportunity for career advancement.
- It shows you are getting involved and engaging further with your work outside of your regular job.
There’s nothing quite as valuable as the knowledge you’ll cultivate throughout your career – obtaining and keeping active HIMSS certifications is a fantastic way to keep that knowledge up to date.
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Originally published July 9, 2018; updated March 4, 2019