Becoming a Top Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist in Minnesota: A Career Guide

If you’re on the hunt for a career as a certified electronic health record specialist in Minnesota, this article is your starting point. It cuts straight to the chase: what are electronic health records, why do they matter, and how you can become a certified specialist in Minnesota’s healthcare industry? Armed with the steps for certification and insights into the local job market, you’ll be well on your way to joining a field that’s critical to patient care and medical data management in the state.

Key Takeaways

  • Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists (CEHRS) are crucial to modern healthcare, managing vital electronic health records (EHRs) which is instrumental in improving patient care, facilitating health information exchange, and managing data.
  • To become a CEHRS professional in Minnesota, one typically needs to complete a relevant education program and obtain certification by passing an exam administered by organizations like the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), followed by engaging in a targeted job search.
  • CEHRS professionals in Minnesota have various career opportunities, with increasing demand in healthcare facilities, government agencies, and insurance companies, requiring continuous education and strong technical, coding, and soft skills for career advancement.
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The Importance of Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists

Illustration of a healthcare professional using electronic health records

EHRs are the backbone of modern healthcare, and the professionals who manage them, the electronic health records specialists or Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists (CEHRS), are the custodians of this vital information. They are integral in improving patient care by:

  • Supporting care coordination
  • Supporting quality measurement
  • Facilitating the exchange of health information between providers
  • Playing a key role in data management.

Apart from their technical roles, CEHRS professionals also have a profound impact on the interpersonal aspect of healthcare. They enhance relationships between patients and clinicians, which is crucial for delivering informed and personalized care. This combination of technical and interpersonal skills makes them indispensable assets to the healthcare industry.

Electronic Health Records Evolution

The journey of electronic health records (EHRs) began in the 1960s, with organizations like the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, being pioneers in adopting an EHR system. However, the initial adoption was limited due to high costs, making them primarily accessible to large health organizations and government entities.

Over the years, EHRs have evolved dramatically. The ‘problem-oriented’ medical record was introduced in the 1970s, enriching EHRs with comprehensive data and improving team communication. The 1980s saw the inclusion of fields for clinical information as technology became more affordable.

The 1990s saw a boost in computer adoption within medical offices, leading to more widespread use of EHRs and personal health records to capture patient data. Today, EHRs have become essential tools for ensuring optimal patient care and adherence to health information privacy laws, with specialized systems developed to cater to the diverse needs of different healthcare settings.

The Role of CEHRS in Healthcare

CEHRS professionals have a multifaceted role in healthcare. They:

  • Ensure that patient data is accurate, well-organized, and securely maintained, which is crucial for the appropriate management of patient information
  • Handle requests for the release of medical information
  • Meticulously review patient records for completeness and precision.

More than just record keepers, CEHRS professionals have a variety of responsibilities, including:

  • Interacting with patients, healthcare providers, and insurance professionals to collect patient demographic and insurance information
  • Contributing to an improved medical care experience
  • Requiring project management experience, particularly in the context of EHR system implementation
  • Having a solid grasp of both the technical and clinical facets of these systems

Path to Becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist in Minnesota

Photo of a person studying for a healthcare certification exam

Becoming a CEHRS professional in Minnesota involves a series of steps. Aspiring candidates must either complete a training program or have equivalent work experience in the field. Some training programs can be completed online, offering flexibility for students who may already be working or need an adaptable schedule.

The certification process for becoming a CEHRS typically involves passing an exam administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) or other recognized organizations. Candidates must meet eligibility requirements that may include a certain amount of work experience or completion of an approved educational program. Once you’ve earned the certification, it’s time to embark on the job hunt. Job postings can be found on job boards, LinkedIn, and the websites of healthcare facilities.

When applying for positions, don’t forget to highlight your certification and experience with EHR systems and practice management systems to stand out to potential employers.

Educational Requirements

One of the primary steps to becoming a CEHRS professional in Minnesota is acquiring the necessary education. Completing a certificate program or an associate degree in health information technology is a typical educational requirement. Aspiring CEHRS professionals often gain the necessary education through community colleges, technical schools, or online programs specializing in electronic health records training.

This education equips you with the foundational knowledge needed to navigate the complex world of EHRs. The curriculum typically covers topics like medical terminology, health information laws and regulations, and the basics of clinical coding and billing. This foundational knowledge is crucial to pass national certification exams and to excel in your career as a CEHRS professional.

Certification Process

After meeting the educational requirements, the next step is obtaining the Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) certification. This certification is recognized as a crucial step for electronic health record specialists in Minnesota. To become certified, candidates must successfully pass the CEHRS exam administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

The CEHRS exam by the NHA comprises 100 scored questions plus 20 pretest questions. The exam addresses key domains including EHR data management, compliance with health information laws, and ensuring patient confidentiality. Passing this exam is a testament to your proficiency in handling EHRs and positions you as a trusted professional in the healthcare industry.

Job Search Strategies

Once you’re certified, it’s time to embark on your job hunt. Specialized job search websites are valuable resources for CEHRS job seekers looking for opportunities in the healthcare industry in Minnesota. These websites list job postings from various healthcare facilities, providing a comprehensive overview of the job market in one place. Some popular job search websites for CEHRS positions in Minnesota include:

  • Indeed
  • Monster
  • CareerBuilder
  • LinkedIn
  • Glassdoor

Utilizing these websites can help you find and apply for CEHRS positions in Minnesota more efficiently.

Attending job fairs can also offer CEHRS professionals in Minnesota the chance to:

  • Network and discover job opportunities directly in the medical field
  • Connect with recruiters from various healthcare facilities looking to hire skilled professionals
  • Open doors to job opportunities that may not be listed on job boards

Key Skills and Competencies for CEHRS Professionals

Illustration of a person demonstrating strong interpersonal skills in a healthcare setting

Becoming a CEHRS professional requires more than just education and certification. Some key skills and competencies make a successful CEHRS professional. One of the foremost is upholding high standards of integrity to maintain patient confidentiality by legal requirements.

Technical skills are also imperative for CEHRS professionals to adeptly navigate coding classification software and EHR systems specific to their healthcare facility. Being detail-oriented is a key competency, ensuring the precision of entering and reviewing patient health information, as well as managing practice reports coding.

Additionally, interpersonal skills are essential, enabling effective collaboration and communication with medical staff and finance personnel regarding patient records and vocabulary patient visit management.

Technical Skills

In the digital age of healthcare, possessing strong technical skills is a necessity for CEHRS professionals. They must be proficient in:

  • coding and classification software
  • the electronic health record system used in their healthcare facility
  • software installation
  • networking
  • interfacing

This technical proficiency extends to skills that benefit team members with Health IT experience.

Being able to navigate EHR systems is essential as an interoperable electronic health record is one that can securely exchange health information with other electronic health record systems. CEHRS professionals also need to understand the importance of certification of EHR technology to ensure that the EHR systems are secure, maintain data confidentiality, and can interoperate with other systems to share information. These technical skills are essential for auditing patient records for compliance, abstracting clinical information for reports, and performing basic coding for reimbursement claims.

Medical Terminology and Coding

Apart from technical skills, mastery of medical terminology and coding is vital for CEHRS professionals. Medical terminology serves as the universal language in healthcare, crucial for clear and accurate communication within electronic health records. CEHRS professionals employ digital classification systems to accurately code patient information for insurance and recordkeeping.

Proficiency in medical terminology supports precise documentation in health information systems, vitally impacting patient care and medical billing. Moreover, analytical skills enable CEHRS professionals to interpret medical records and diagnoses, which is essential for accurate medical coding. This combination of technical and coding skills makes CEHRS professionals indispensable in the healthcare industry.

Soft Skills

While technical and coding skills are important, the value of soft skills cannot be overlooked in the role of a CEHRS professional. Some important soft skills for CEHRS professionals include:

  • Effective communication, which is essential in EHR management, facilitates organized implementations and clear documentation along with ensuring patient safety and satisfaction.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, which enhance communications with doctors and finance personnel.
  • Teamwork, enables healthcare professionals to address complex challenges.

Some important soft skills for healthcare professionals include:

  • Detail orientation, which aids in precise data entry and review of patient records
  • A robust work ethic, coupled with time management skills, ensures role fulfillment and efficiency
  • Emotional intelligence allows for better management of personal and others’ emotions within the workplace

These skills are critical for success in the medical practice and healthcare field.

CEHRS Career Opportunities in Minnesota

Photo of a bustling healthcare facility with professionals and patients

The career landscape for CEHRS professionals in Minnesota is promising. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Employment of medical records specialists in Minnesota is projected to grow by 7 percent from 2021 to 2031.
  • This growth showcases opportunities for certified electronic health record specialists.
  • These professionals are in demand across various sectors of the healthcare industry.

Healthcare Facilities

Healthcare facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and private practices offer a variety of opportunities for CEHRS professionals. These facilities often have dedicated health information management (HIM) departments where CEHRS professionals play a crucial role in:

  • Managing patient health records
  • Ensuring the accuracy and completeness of patient information
  • Maintaining the security and confidentiality of patient records
  • Collaborating with healthcare providers to ensure the quality of patient care

Entry-level positions in HIM within these facilities typically require at least a high school diploma or associate degree. In addition to formal education, certifications like Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) or Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) are often prerequisites for employment.

These facilities offer a conducive environment for CEHRS professionals to apply their skills and contribute to improved healthcare delivery.

Government Agencies

Government agencies also provide a wealth of opportunities for CEHRS professionals as part of major federal initiatives. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is a federal entity instrumental in advancing health information technology and interoperability. Moreover, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) utilizes electronic health records for improving healthcare quality, which provides opportunities for CEHRS specialists.

At a state level, the Minnesota Department of Health has a Health Information Technology division that works with electronic health systems, creating opportunities for CEHRS specialists. Additionally, Minnesota’s e-Health initiative supports the implementation and use of EHRs and health information exchange across the state, employing CEHRS professionals. These government agencies offer roles involving the management and regulation of health information, appropriate for CEHRS professionals’ expertise.

Insurance Companies

CEHRS professionals play a crucial role in the insurance sector. They:

  • Process claims efficiently to ensure timely reimbursement for healthcare services, including submitting reimbursement claims
  • Manage patient data in insurance companies
  • Verify insurance coverage
  • Ensure that claims are coded correctly to meet industry and legal standards

Ensuring the integrity of electronic health records, CEHRS professionals help mitigate errors that could result in claim denials or delays in payments, thereby safeguarding the financial interests of both healthcare providers and patients. They often collaborate with healthcare providers to reconcile discrepancies in records and facilitate accurate claim submissions, highlighting their intermediary role in the healthcare and insurance industries.

Staying Current and Advancing Your CEHRS Career

Illustration of a person attending a healthcare industry networking event

Once established in their career, CEHRS professionals need to keep abreast of industry trends, legislative updates, and advances in technology. This can be done through:

  • Continuing education
  • Networking
  • Professional associations
  • Exploring career advancement opportunities within the HIM domain.

Continuing Education

Keeping up-to-date with the rapidly changing healthcare landscape is crucial for CEHRS professionals. Continuing education is key to ensuring healthcare documentation integrity, patient privacy, and safe healthcare. The EHR Competency Model developed by the United States Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration can be used as a resource to ensure teams have the appropriate mix of skills, knowledge, and experience for EHR implementation and disaster recovery HIPAA requirements.

Continuing education courses for health record specialists cover key topics such as strategies for EHR implementation, medical record security, and practice efficiency improvement. This care record ongoing training enhances the understanding and skills necessary for accurate, up-to-date, and complete patient information at the point of care.

Networking and Professional Associations

Networking and joining relevant associations can be beneficial for CEHRS professionals. These platforms provide access to experts, industry events, and opportunities to engage with peers, offering a competitive advantage through active involvement and staying informed within the industry.

Professional healthcare organizations provide personal health record communication, along with support research registries, access to research publications, updates on federal and state changes in healthcare services delivery, and events, conferences, and webinars relevant to the field of health records.

Engaging with these organizations not only enhances networking but also facilitates career development.

Career Advancement Opportunities

The career path for a CEHRS professional does not have to stop at being a record specialist. The widespread use of EHRs and health information technology (HIT) has created more career opportunities for professionals with expertise in these systems. Health Information Technicians and roles like the Cancer Registrar, responsible for the collection and management of cancer patient data, are among the top-growing positions within the HIM domain.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects an 8% growth rate for medical records and health information specialist positions from 2019 to 2029, indicating a robust demand for skilled HIM professionals. Joining professional organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) or the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) can aid in finding job opportunities and advancing one’s career in health information management.

Summary

The role of a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist is pivotal in the modern healthcare landscape. These professionals not only manage patient records but also contribute to improved patient care, data management, and enhanced patient-clinician relationships. With the healthcare industry in Minnesota projected to grow, the demand for CEHRS professionals is on the rise. Whether you’re starting your journey to become a CEHRS professional or looking to advance in your career, the opportunities are boundless. It’s a career path that promises growth, fulfillment, and the opportunity to make a significant impact on healthcare delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an electronic health record implementation specialist?

An electronic health record implementation specialist is responsible for implementing, optimizing, and maintaining electronic health record systems in healthcare settings. They are experts in EMR/EHR healthcare software programs that track and maintain electronic medical records.

How much does the CEhrs exam cost?

The CEHRS exam costs about $117, as stated on the NHA website.

What are the steps to becoming a CEHRS professional in Minnesota?

To become a CEHRS professional in Minnesota, you need to complete a training program or have equivalent work experience, pass the certification exam administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), and utilize job search strategies to find employment opportunities. Good luck!

What skills are required to be a successful CEHRS professional?

To be a successful CEHRS professional, you need to have high integrity, technical proficiency, attention to detail, interpersonal skills, and knowledge of medical terminology and coding, along with strong soft skills in effective communication, work ethic, time management, and emotional intelligence. These are essential for excelling in the field.

How can a CEHRS professional stay current and advance in their career?

To stay current and advance in your career as a CEHRS professional, focus on continuing education, networking, joining professional associations, and exploring career advancement opportunities within the Health Information Management (HIM) domain.