You don't always need a master's program to break into health IT. These non-degree programs offer viable options for many job seekers.
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Independent of government or membership organizations, Health IT Certification, a company based in Salem, Ore., has an eight-year history in testing professional competency.
Today, Health IT Certification has four programs and credentials:
-- Certified Professional in Health Information Technology (CPHIT).
-- Certified Professional in Electronic Health Records (CPEHR).
-- Certified Professional in Health Information Exchange (CPHIE).
-- Certified Professional in Operating Rules Administration (CPORA).
Founded in 2004 with the HIT and EHR certifications, the group has trained more than 3,600 people since then. Health IT Certification added CPHIE in 2008, which includes governance issues and modules for public health and personal health records. CPORA recently launched in response to the "operating rules" for HIPAA transactions called for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"Some of the professional associations think we compete with them," said Steven Lazarus, president and founder of Boundary Information Group, a consortium of health IT consulting firms that created Health IT Certification. But he sees a distinction.
"We take a multi-stakeholder approach," said Lazarus, noting that the company updates its curriculum at least once a year. "We are very nimble and flexible," added Lazarus, a former chair of the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange and onetime Medical Group Management Association executive.