Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Enterprise Certification for HIT Professionals Announced

Teaching PACS at OTech
The PACS Administrators Registry and Certification Association (PARCA) announced a new certification which serves as a capstone for those health imaging and IT professionals who already have their basic PACS certification and intend to develop into a more enterprise-oriented professional. It is called the CHEA or Certified Healthcare Enterprise Architect certification and builds upon the strengths of the existing CIIP and PARCA certifications. An important part of this certification is the intimate knowledge of the standards that facilitate the exchange of imaging and related information in an enterprise. This is very relevant now that the new stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements have expanded to include imaging. The process of exchange is facilitated by existing standards such as DICOM and HL7, and addressed by the many IHE profiles which specify in detail how information is exchanged between PACS systems, EMR’s and Health Information Exchanges.
The initial discussion of whether or not health imaging and IT professionals should be certified has lost momentum as evidenced by the fact that between PARCA and CIIP there are almost 1500 professionals certified as of today. According to Dr. Chuck Willis, President of PARCA, it was time to make sure that certification adjusts to the changing environment. It is not enough to know how to move images around, but even more important to be able to facilitate the utility of images by incorporating them into the EMR and making them available through HIE’s to other facilities and physicians. Therefore, building on the strong base of CIIP and PARCA certification requirements, this new certification was defined with a strong emphasis on the implementation of EMR’s. What differentiates this from other certification programs is that it includes a major part of hands-on practical use of implementations. Candidates should be able to look at a log file that includes a transaction and retrieve DICOM and HL7 messages and image headers, and interpret these in order to troubleshoot issues that might occur.
Detailed requirements of the new certification re to be published in March on the PARCA website, but a  sneak preview based on discussions with Chuck Willis indicate that there is a big emphasis on IHE knowledge, whose implementation has proven to improve  efficiency in existing PACS/RIS and EMR deployments. This certification will allow candidates to play a pivotal role in the deployment of the EMR, its extension to include the new stage 2 and 3 requirements, and achieve the ultimate Stage 7 of the HIMSS EMR adoption model.
Launching this important new certification will be a major vehicle for healthcare professionals to gain new knowledge and build skills needed to be part of the healthcare revolution.