Becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist in Colorado: Your Essential Guide

Embarking on a career as a certified electronic health record specialist in Colorado? This field is poised for growth, driven by an aging population and technological strides in healthcare. Begin your journey to certification with our guide that navigates through Colorado’s education requirements, job outlook, and unique professional opportunities in the evolving landscape of health IT.

Key Takeaways

  • Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists maintain data integrity, ensure HIPAA compliance, and utilize technology like EHR systems to manage patient health information, playing a vital role in the healthcare industry.
  • Educational requirements for becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist in Colorado include a high school diploma or GED followed by post-secondary education or training programs, culminating in the CEHRS exam.
  • The demand for Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists in Colorado is rising due to a growing healthcare sector, an aging population, and advancements in healthcare technology, offering job security, competitive salaries, and opportunities for career growth.
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The Role of a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist

An EHR specialist reviewing electronic health records

Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists have a range of responsibilities, including:

  • Gathering, reviewing, and organizing patient health data
  • Ensuring accurate capture of information into EHR systems
  • Maintaining data integrity and performing quality control
  • Upholding set standards and formats for accurate patient information
  • Arranging patient visits and facilitating follow-up care

These professionals play a crucial role in healthcare settings, including nursing homes.

At the heart of their work is a commitment to patient data security. They actively collaborate with patients and healthcare providers, ensuring that medical records promote optimal care while adhering to strict confidentiality protocols. But their role doesn’t end here. Let’s delve deeper into the specific aspects of their responsibilities.

Medical Terminology and Treatment Plans

In the realm of healthcare, clear communication and accurate record-keeping are vital. That’s where an understanding of medical terminology comes into play. Electronic Health Record Specialists need to be well-versed in medical terminology to ensure that treatment plans, diagnoses, and medical procedures are accurately documented within patient records.

Moreover, EHR systems can provide real-time alerts and reminders for patient care. These features are critical for maintaining treatment plans and monitoring patient health. By understanding medical terminology, EHR Specialists can leverage these systems to their full potential, contributing to improved patient outcomes.

Security and HIPAA Compliance

The task of handling sensitive patient health information comes with significant responsibility. EHR Specialists play a pivotal role in safeguarding protected health information by:

  • Implementing appropriate security measures
  • Following confidentiality protocols
  • Ensuring HIPAA compliance
  • Managing electronic health records

Their training equips them with the skills to uphold not only data security but also the security of your connection.

The stakes are high in this role. An error in a patient’s medical record or a breach in data security can have significant consequences, including costly impacts on patients and damage to a healthcare organization’s reputation. Therefore, EHR Specialists must validate EHR data against external sources and perform manual chart reviews to maintain accuracy, while also verifying you are human to ensure data security.

Technology and Systems

The use of technology in healthcare is more than just a trend; it’s a necessity. EHR systems like Epic have become integral to healthcare processes, significantly enhancing patient engagement during clinical visits. For over four years, UCHealth has utilized Epic Ambulatory, allowing specialists to manage EHR duties including storage, access, and management of patient records along with smart prescription services and automated scheduling.

The Epic Community Connect program extends the advantages of Epic’s practice management and EHR to affiliated physicians, contributing to streamlined healthcare processes. However, the landscape of healthcare coverage and data management is continually evolving, with advancements like the Colorado Option Plan underscoring the necessity for EHR specialists to adapt and navigate these changes.

Educational Pathways to Becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist in Colorado

A high school student attending a biology class

The journey to becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist begins with a solid educational foundation. In Colorado, individuals must first obtain a high school diploma or GED. This foundational step paves the way for further education in accredited training programs, which are critical in equipping aspiring specialists with the necessary skills for certification.

One such program is offered by Colorado State University Professional Education. Designed to meet the educational requirements for the role, this course prepares students to pass the National Healthcareer Association’s Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) exam. But let’s take a step back and start from scratch. What does the initial stage of this educational journey look like?

High School Diploma and Essential Courses

Aspiring Certified Electronic Medical Records (EMR) Specialists must first secure a high school diploma. During this time, students should focus on courses that lay a strong foundation for a career in EMR, such as:

  • biology
  • computer science
  • anatomy
  • communications

Some students may also choose to enroll in a healthcare career path program during high school, like the one offered by the U.S. Career Institute’s Online High School. This program provides an excellent foundation in the medical field, preparing students for further specialized training in electronic medical records.

Post-Secondary Education and Training Programs

After high school, the educational journey continues with post-secondary education and training programs. Accredited programs like the CEHRS course at Colorado State University are crucial for those seeking to become Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists in Colorado.

This course provides hands-on practice with real EHR software and is guided by expert facilitators to support students through their learning process. Upon completion, students are prepared to manage electronic health records, perform compliance audits, and do basic coding for reimbursement claims. Moreover, the tuition includes the CEHRS exam fee, providing a clear pathway to certification.

Job Growth and Opportunities in Colorado

Technological advancements in healthcare

With a solid educational foundation and certification in hand, Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists can look forward to promising job prospects in Colorado. The state is experiencing a projected shortage of healthcare workers, with an expected deficit of 54,000 lower-wage healthcare positions and 10,000 registered nurses by 2026. This situation indicates a growth in job opportunities within the healthcare sector.

Moreover, the employment of medical records specialists, including EHR specialists, is expected to grow by 7 percent from 2021 to 2031. This growth is a testament to the high demand and job security in the field. But what factors are driving this job growth?

Healthcare Industry Expansion

The healthcare sector plays a significant economic role in Colorado, contributing $148 billion in economic output. This substantial contribution signals the industry’s economic importance and its potential for continued growth.

The healthcare sector’s share of employment in Colorado expanded from 15% to 17.6% between 2022 and 2023, reflecting a trend towards continued employment growth within the industry. Predictions indicate that through 2026, the most healthcare-related job increases in Colorado will be for:

  • personal care aides
  • registered nurses
  • home health aides
  • medical assistants
  • nursing assistants

This trend suggests a bright future for those considering a career in healthcare, including EHR specialists.

Ageing Population

Another contributing factor to the growing demand for healthcare professionals in Colorado is the state’s aging population. From 2000 to 2023, Colorado experienced a demographic shift, with a significant increase in the population aged 65 and over. This upward trend is expected to continue, with the Colorado State Demography Office predicting a further 2.55% growth in the 65+ resident population by 2033.

In rural Colorado counties, as of 2022, approximately 21% of residents were 65 or older. This demographic shift is creating greater healthcare demands, amplifying the need for electronic health record management. As the elderly population continues to grow, so does the need for skilled EHR specialists.

Technological Advancements

Technological advancements in the healthcare industry have amplified the demand for professionals who can navigate and leverage these new tools. Specifically, the healthcare information technology domain is undergoing significant growth, with professionals such as:

  • EHR specialists
  • Health informatics specialists
  • Health IT project managers
  • Clinical informaticists
  • Health data analysts

In today’s fast-paced, human-centric world, solutions that can save even a few seconds and enhance connection are being increasingly sought after, especially when proceeding with daily tasks and needing to respond swiftly. Verification of successful waiting plays a crucial role in this context.

In Colorado, the tech sector’s growth shows a trend that bodes well for healthcare technology specialists. Some key points include:

  • A 4.3% increase in tech jobs in 2022, outpacing national averages
  • A projected 3.6% hike in tech jobs for 2023
  • Over 248,000 tech workers in Colorado, indicating a high concentration of tech expertise

These factors indicate a strong demand for technological expertise, which is applicable in healthcare technology sectors such as EHR systems. The availability of crossover skills in Colorado makes it an attractive location for healthcare technology professionals.

Benefits of Becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist

Job security in the healthcare industry

Beyond fulfilling a vital role in the healthcare sector and enjoying robust job prospects, becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist in Colorado comes with several other benefits. These professionals can look forward to job security, competitive salaries, and opportunities for professional growth and development.

But let’s delve deeper into these benefits, which will only take a few seconds.

Job Security and High Demand

The healthcare sector in Colorado plays a significant role in the state’s economy, directly creating over 311,000 jobs and resulting in a total employment impact of over 744,000 jobs. This substantial contribution underscores the job security offered by a career in healthcare, including the role of a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist.

Moreover, healthcare is one of the top three sources of employment in rural Colorado, highlighting the significance of healthcare jobs in less urbanized regions. With these factors, EHR specialists can rest assured of the high demand for their skills and the job security that comes with it.

Competitive Salaries

In addition to job security, Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists can expect competitive salaries that reflect their high demand in the healthcare field. In Colorado, the average salary for an EHR User Support Specialist is $81,974, with a range from $70,061 to $88,042.

Entry-level EHR User Support Specialists may start at a wage around the 10th percentile salary of $59,214, but experienced specialists can earn up to the 90th percentile salary of $93,567. This high earning potential further underscores the benefits of becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist.

Professional Growth and Development

A career as a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist is not just rewarding in the short term. It also offers opportunities for long-term professional growth and development.

Promotional opportunities may be based on various criteria, including skill level, years of experience, and further education or certification. With the expanding healthcare sector and the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare technology, EHR specialists can look forward to a career that continues to grow and develop alongside the industry.

Essential Skills for a Successful Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist

An EHR specialist demonstrating attention to detail

While education, certification, and job opportunities are crucial components of a successful career as an EHR Specialist, there are certain skills that these professionals must possess to excel in their roles. These include meticulous attention to detail, clear and effective communication, and the ability to adapt to new technologies and regulations.

But what do these skills entail in the context of an EHR Specialist’s role?

Attention to Detail

Attention to detail is a crucial skill for Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists. In their role, they are responsible for maintaining accuracy in patient documentation, which is crucial for quality control in healthcare services.

Every data entry in the EHR system must be complete and up-to-date. From a single digit in a patient’s medical record to a minor update in the treatment plan, an EHR specialist must ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.

Communication Skills

Clear communication is another essential skill for EHR Specialists. When documenting sensitive patient issues within EHRs, they must communicate effectively to prevent causing distress to patients or discouraging them from future appointments.

In addition, EHR Specialists often act as a bridge between healthcare providers and patients. Their ability to communicate clearly and effectively ensures that patient data is accurately captured, organized, and understood by all parties involved.

Adaptability

In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare technology, adaptability is a must-have skill for EHR Specialists. They must be able to adapt to changes in electronic health record systems, staying current with technological advancements and shifts in healthcare regulations.

The dynamic nature of electronic health records means that queries run on different days may yield different results, posing challenges for data analysis. EHR Specialists must adjust their approach to these challenges, and adapt their research designs to account for potential biases in EHR data that might not accurately represent the general population.

Summary

From the pivotal role they play in managing patient data to the promising career prospects they enjoy, Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists stand at the intersection of healthcare and technology. With a solid educational foundation, professional certification, and the essential skills for the job, they can look forward to a rewarding career in Colorado’s growing healthcare industry.

Whether you’re a high school graduate exploring career options or a healthcare professional looking to specialize, a career as a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist offers an exciting opportunity. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, the need for these professionals will only grow, making it the perfect time to embark on this rewarding career journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I become an EHR specialist?

To become an EHR specialist, start by applying for the Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist exam. Then, set a date, prepare thoroughly, take the exam, and await your results. This certification can be earned through an accredited university with no prior experience required.

How much does the CEhrs exam cost?

The CEHRS exam costs about $117. You can find more information on the NHA website.

What does a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist do?

A Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist gathers, reviews, and organizes patient health data, ensuring its accurate capture into EHR systems within healthcare settings, and maintains data integrity while performing quality control for accurate patient information.

What are some benefits of becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist?

Becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist can offer job security, competitive salaries, and opportunities for professional growth and development. These benefits stem from the high demand for such specialists in the healthcare field.

What is the job outlook for Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists in Colorado?

The job outlook for Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists in Colorado is promising due to the growth in the healthcare sector, an aging population, and technological advancements driving job growth in this field.