CompTIA’s New Certification Won’t Make It Easier to Land a Health IT Job

Heart DefibulatorHealthcare IT has been called a promising new area for tech pros but ironically, many employers prefer to hire people who have clinical backgrounds — nurses and doctors — who’ve gone out to learn the technology and apply both of these backgrounds to the work. For those who want to come in from the IT side, making the move is a lot harder.

Now CompTIA’s come out with a vendor-neutral Healthcare IT Technician certification for those who work with electronic health records. It covers not only IT operations, but regulatory requirements, medical business, security and organizational behavior.

It doesn’t feel like this is going to make transitioning into IT any easier. Terry Erdle, CompTIA’s executive vice president for skills certification, says the projected 50,000 new Health IT positions will be “hybrid jobs” that mix healthcare and technology expertise. The credential basically allows you to prove you have both.

The trade group suggests that those interested in the certification also hold a CompTIA A+, which covers foundation-level knowledge and skills for PC support, installation, maintenance, networking, security and troubleshooting.

“What we’ve seen so far is that it’s a bigger challenge for the IT people,” Eric Marx, vice president of Health Care IT at staffing firm Modis, told NetworkWorld. “A nurse may know exactly what a certain medical device is and what it does, or know anatomy and medical terminology having worked in a hospital environment. It’s a much more challenging adjustment for straight IT workers.”

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  1. I spent several years working for a company that was ultimately absorbed into McKesson. I spent some time working in a hospital. I was expected to have an understanding of medical terminology; e.g. CPT, ICD-9, patient record versus medical record, etc; but I was not expected to know the codes or if the correct codes were being used, how to use a defibrilator, etc. Why? Because my responsibility was to administer the applications and systems, not enter data or interact directly with patients, and medical staff. Me thinks this certification process might be a bit of turf defending in order to prevent what might be viewed as a threat to the jobs held by healthcare providers. “Ya know”, if IT and non-IT learned how to play well together there might be a wee bit less of an adversarial relationship.