As I have chronicled in my previous blogs, it’s been an interesting journey these past 5-6 years I’ve been successfully and gainfully engaged as an Electronic Medical Records (EMR) professional. The adoption of EMRs / EHRs is a top healthcare facility priority and on the national forefront thanks in large part to the National Healthcare Reform bill that was passed this year by our Government and also last year’s adoption of the ARRA. So many more people are seeking information about this evolving healthcare industry. I feel so fortunate I learned about EMRs about 10 years ago. At that time I was the lead Microsoft Instructor for a major university hospital – training all of the Clinical and professional staff in utilizing MS Office. My colleagues in this hospital training department were tasked with providing instruction on this interesting little ‘pilot’, a clinical software application for this hospital’s outpatient/ambulatory clinics. My entire professional career…I’ve always been very inquisitive and seeking information about what is most current on the cutting edge of technology or what’s new…and then I want to learn about it and so again, I followed my professional instinct and learned everything I could about EMRs. And now 10 years later I have garnered three EMR Certifications from one of the top EMR vendors – Epic® Systems Corporation. Epic® has a large market share of the hospitals and clinics who have implemented EMRs by converting their paper medical charts to digitized systems, based on specific clinical workflows.
Some of the top questions people now ask me include: How do you get EMR certified? How do you get hired for EMR / EHR implementations? What types of healthcare IT jobs are available? How do you get qualified for hire? (or at least an interview). My first answer to these pressing questions is, earning a EMR Certification is just the beginning of your EMR / EHR journey. To be fully marketable in this field, getting certified is an exciting first step, but it also requires an opportunity to directly apply what you learned in the classroom to the “real life ” clinical community. Different EMR / EHR vendors have various training programs and/or certification requirements.
Following is my successful 10 year journey of how I got EMR Certified and just as important, EMR Experienced (summarized version):
|2001 – 2003||Hired/worked as Lead Microsoft Office instructor in the Training department of a large University level Healthcare facility. Also began observing a new EMR system (EpicCare®), being piloted at several outpatient/ambulatory clinics associated with this healthcare facility.
|2004||Transitioned from the Training department, to the ‘EMR’ implementation department at this same University level Healthcare facility. I was then sent out to Epic® Systems training facility in Madison, Wisconsin. Received intensive 3-day training consisting of 3 training companions about their outpatient/ambulatory EMR system (EpicCare®). Post Epic Systems training received access to their online system and for about 6-months did the required self-study and project assignments completions (also completing various “real life” clinical EMR implementation work assignments).
|2005||Received my first Epic EMR Certification – EpicCare Ambulatory, by successfully completing mandatory 2-hour exams for each of the 3 study companions. Received my official certification notification and document from Epic Systems.|
|2005 – 2006||Worked with other certified EpicCare Analysts, by completing all the tasks related to EMR implementation for Internal Medicine Practices.|
|2007||Was recruited to become a traveling EpicCare EMR Implementation Consultant. Continued with EMR implementation assignments for outpatient/ambulatory healthcare facilities on the West Coast, Mid-west, and the East Coast.|
|2008||Was recruited to be part of an Inpatient (or acute care) EMR implementation for a large pediatric hospital facility. I was sent out (twice) to Epic® Systems grand new and improved training facility now located in Verona Wisconsin. Each visit I received intensive 3-day training consisting of 3 training companions about their Inpatient EMR system to learn Clinical Documentation and Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE). Post Epic Systems training received access to their online system for self-study and project assignments completions.Received my second and third Epic® EMR Inpatient application Certifications; Clinical Document and CPOE. I successfully completed the mandatory 2-hour exams for each application. Received my official certification notification and document from Epic Systems.|
|2008 – 2010||Continued working with Full-time EMR professionals and other certified Epic EMR consultants, by completing tasks related to EMR implementation for Hospitals and Clinics nationally.|
I hope this summarized version of my EMR Certification process (and my ten year journey to get the experience required to be marketable and do good work) is helpful to your quest.
If you are also EMR certified, please reply to this blog with your particular experience…perhaps you have another EMR Vendor certification, please share your process and/or experience.
If you are seeking EMR certification, let me know if this blog has been helpful!
Update: I am proud to announce that since this post was originally written in 2010, I have founded an online school – Healthcare Information Technology Workforce – School of New Jersey. Visit us today and learn how we conduct our nationally recognized government-sponsored Health IT curriculum online, preparing students for the Health IT Workforce Competency Examination Program (HIT Pro™). Graduates of Healthcare IT School of New Jersey programs receive a Certificate of Achievement and are provided with their in-demand job placement assistance.