Health Information Technology Specialist Certification: Requirements for Certification in Health Information Technology

Published Aug 30, 2009

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Requirements for certification of Health Information Technology specialists depend on the certification, which can include registered health information technician (RHIT), certified coding specialist (CCS, CCS-P), certified coding associate (CCA) and certified health data analyst (CHDA). After the initial exam and certification, Health Information Technology professionals must take continuing education courses to maintain credentials.

Requirements for Initial Health Information Technology Specialist Certification

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), www.ahima.org, provides Health Information Technology Specialist credentials including registered health information technician (RHIT), certified coding specialist (CCS, CCS-P), certified coding associate (CCA) and certified health data analyst (CHDA) to those who prove their knowledge with an exam. Requirements for the RHIT exam include a Health Information Management associate degree from an approved program. Applicants for the CCS, CCA and CHDA must possess a high school diploma or GED and should have field-specific experience ranging from six months for a CCA to three years for a CCS. CCS applicants need prior classes in anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology and pharmacology. Once applicants meet all eligibility requirements, they submit an application and credential-specific exam fee.

Requirements for Maintaining Health Information Technology Specialist Certification

To maintain certification, individuals complete 20 continuing education units for their first exam, plus ten units for each additional exam over a 2-year time frame, which begins on January 1 and ends on December 31 of the following year. Health Information management classes must make up 80% of the continuing education units. Individuals must also complete annual self-assessments for each credential. After completing all prerequisites and receiving approval from AHIMA, Health Information Technology Specialists receive a certificate of completion. AHIMA assesses continuing education fees with membership dues, or at the end of the 2-year credential cycle for nonmembers to maintain certifications.

Advantages to Obtaining a Health Information Technology Specialist Certification

The American Hospital Association, www.aha.org, notes that Health Information Technology allows for better patient care by reducing errors and improving performance standards. Professional certification is a way for individuals to show employers their proficiency with Health Information Technology. AHIMA states that many health care employers prefer to hire certified Health Information Technology specialists over non-certified applicants. Furthermore, out of two equally skilled employees, many employers promote a certified over non-certified worker.

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