As the U.S engages in major effort to drive adoption and meaningful use of electronic health records, a shortage of Health IT professionals threatens to impede progress. Indeed, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics predicts a possible shortage of approximately 50,000 qualified Health IT professionals.
To combat this problem, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) has launched the HIT Pro™ exams which, according to AHIMA, are designed to “assess basic competency of individuals who are seeking to demonstrate proficiency in certain health IT workforce roles integral to the implementation and management of electronic health information.” These exams consist of 125 multiple choice questions and are expected to take three hours to complete.
The HIT Pro™ exams offer individuals who have taken a short-duration, non-degree health IT workforce development program or who have acquired relevant, on-the-job experience the means to demonstrate their health IT competency. At this time, exams have been developed for six distinct competency profiles:
- Clinician/Practitioner Consultant
- Implementation Manager
- Implementation Support Specialist
- Practice Workflow & Information Management Redesign Specialist
- Technical/Software Support Staff
For a limited time, there is no cost to U.S. citizens to write one of the HIT Pro™ exams. The cost is covered through funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This program illustrates yet another way that the U.S. government is moving forward aggressively to deploy electronic health records across the continuum of care. When potential roadblocks such as a potential shortage of qualified Health IT professionals is identified, it seems that program is quickly developed to address the problem in the most practical way possible.