Becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist in South Dakota: Your Complete Guide

Pursuing a career as a certified electronic health record specialist in South Dakota starts with grasping the essentials: from educational prerequisites to the certification exam and the realities of the job market. Here, we directly address the streamlined steps to certification and highlight the significance of this role in South Dakota’s healthcare system. If you’re looking to start or advance in this field, this article outlines what you can expect and how to prepare for a successful career.

Key Takeaways

  • Certified Electronic Health Records Specialists (CEHRS) are critical in managing patient data integrity, mastering EHR systems, and ensuring compliance with healthcare documentation standards and privacy laws such as HIPAA.
  • To become a CEHRS in South Dakota, candidates need a high school diploma or equivalent, completion of an accredited training program, and pass the National Certification Exam administered by the National Healthcareer Association.
  • EHR certification is crucial for career advancement in healthcare, as it meets job market demands and federal compliance standards, and it requires ongoing professional development through continuing education.
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Exploring the Role of a Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist

EHR specialist working on electronic health records

Welcome to the world of Certified Electronic Health Records Specialists. These professionals:

  • Coordinate the systems that keep healthcare facilities operating smoothly
  • Play a vital role in maintaining quality patient care
  • Help healthcare organizations meet the demand for efficient data capture, retrieval, and management
  • Align with the shift towards digitalization in healthcare

These specialists can also operate remotely, so long as they have a robust, secure internet connection and necessary certification. They are trained to use real EHR software, explain medical record content, track patient information, and communicate effectively with patients and public health entities.

Patient Data Management

A CEHRS plays a vital role in managing patient data, which includes:

  • Processing medical record requests
  • Ensuring record accuracy
  • Gathering patient demographics and insurance details
  • Collecting and verifying patient information required for demographic and insurance reports

They ensure accurate patient data management by collecting, verifying, and maintaining accurate patient records required for demographic and insurance reports.

The patient data stored in EHR systems, which play a crucial role in personal health record communication, include medical history, diagnoses, medications, immunization dates, radiology images, and lab results, all essential for making informed healthcare decisions using accurate medical terminology. By maintaining personal health records and utilizing vocabulary for patient visit management, patients can ensure that their information is up-to-date and easily accessible.

Healthcare Documentation Integrity

Maintaining the integrity of healthcare documentation also falls under the responsibilities of EHR specialists. They must be well-versed with:

  • The purposes, standards, formats, and types of data contained within the EHR
  • Comprehensive knowledge of medical record content and documentation requirements
  • The rules of privacy and security as mandated by HIPAA within electronic health record systems.

To uphold healthcare documentation integrity, they consistently conduct audits and reviews of patient records, confirming compliance with governmental or insurance mandates and verifying the records’ completeness and accuracy. Additionally, care record ongoing training is essential to maintain the highest standards in this process.

Mastery of EHR Systems

Mastery of EHR systems is a key aspect of a CEHRS’s role. EHR software from leading companies encompasses not only the patient data but also the architecture, hardware, software, and networks that facilitate real-time access and communication for effective treatment. EHR specialists prepare for managing EHR systems through comprehensive training programs that provide hands-on experience with actual software and an understanding of the entire EHR implementation process. They handle crucial operational tasks such as managing the master patient index, handling service payments, and ensuring efficient scheduling to facilitate collaborative care.

Achieving mastery of EHR systems and obtaining certification empowers specialists to optimize the EHR for their specific practice settings and secures their career advancement within the healthcare industry.

Educational Pathways to CEHRS Certification in South Dakota

CEHRS certification exam preparation

What is the process to become a CEHRS in South Dakota? The process involves acquiring a high school diploma or equivalent, being at least 18 years of age, and enrolling in an accredited training program like those offered by MedCerts. These programs provide the educational background and skills necessary for the CEHRS certification.

High School Diploma and Prerequisites

The journey to becoming a CEHRS in South Dakota begins with:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent
  • Completion of a recognized electronic health records specialist training program in the last 5 years
  • OR one year of supervised work experience in the field within the last three years

Accredited Training Programs

Accredited institutions like MedCerts provide the necessary training for the CEHRS certification. Online colleges like these offer CEHRS training programs that can be completed in as little as 3–6 months, a considerably quicker route than the 24–48 months usually required at community colleges. The flexibility of on-demand, 24/7 scheduling contrasts with the fixed class times and on-campus attendance requirements of community college programs.

The curriculum covers a comprehensive range of subjects in medical office administration, including:

  • Non-clinical and clinical operations
  • Revenue cycle/Finance
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Reporting

This ensures thorough preparation for the exam.

National Certification Exams

The CEHRS exam is administered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). The exam comprises:

  • 150 questions
  • 20 pretest questions
  • Takes approximately one hour and 50 minutes to complete
  • Costs about $117.00

Upon passing, candidates receive the credentials of Nationally Certified Healthcare professionals, which includes the right to use certain credentials with their name, receive a certification ID card, and obtain a certificate.

Candidates who do not pass the exam on their first attempt can retake it after a 30-day waiting period, with a total of three attempts permitted. The results are posted on the candidate’s NHA account page within two days after completing the test, and they can usually see their scores in just a few seconds, with verification successfully waiting for the official confirmation.

The Importance of Certification for EHR Specialists

EHR specialist discussing patient data management

Acquiring EHR certification is a pivotal step in a professional’s development. It not only demonstrates proficiency with essential tools in healthcare but also shows a commitment to integrating advanced technology in healthcare. Certification enhances knowledge and keeps professionals up-to-date with evolving policies and compliance requirements, enhancing their contributions to the field.

Meeting Job Market Demands

EHR expertise demonstrated through certification, is a significant advantage for healthcare professionals looking to progress in their careers. Certification in EHR systems is increasingly sought after in the job market due to the central role of EHRs in modernizing healthcare workflows and improving patient outcomes.

Ensuring Compliance with Major Federal Initiatives

Certification plays a crucial role in ensuring compliance with major federal initiatives. Certified EHR Technology (CEHRT) is mandated by CMS and ONC standards for healthcare providers to effectively capture and share patient information. Participation in the Medicare Promoting Interoperability Program requires eligible hospitals to use EHR systems that meet specific certification criteria, including the 2015 Edition Cures Update dictated by the ONC.

Advancing Professional Development

Certification is not a one-time event but a commitment to ongoing learning and professional development. To renew the CEHRS certification, professionals must complete 10 continuing education credits, renew their certification through their NHA account, and pay the two-year certification renewal fee.

Engaging with professional communities and attending relevant conferences can connect EHR specialists with industry experts for collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Career Opportunities for CEHRS in South Dakota

As a CEHRS in South Dakota, a broad array of career opportunities awaits you. These professionals can seek opportunities in a diverse range of healthcare settings such as private practices, hospitals, home health agencies, insurance companies, government agencies, and medical consulting firms. Beyond these primary settings, they can also seek opportunities in medical labs, mental health facilities, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, outpatient care centers, public health agencies, and healthcare software vendors.

Scope in Healthcare Facilities

A variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals and private practices, utilize EHR systems with specialized software designed for specific healthcare areas like occupational health or physical therapy. In South Dakota, EHR specialists have employment opportunities in a range of healthcare facilities including private practices, hospitals, outpatient care centers, and government facilities such as public health agencies.

They can also find employment in specialized settings like medical labs, mental health facilities, nursing homes, and home health agencies.

Roles Beyond Record-Keeping

The evolution of EHR systems has led to the emergence of specialized roles in healthcare IT, enhancing medical practitioners’ efficiency and providing comprehensive solutions for patient information management, scheduling, and effective practice management.

Pursuing certifications specific to EHR products, like Epic Certifications, equips individuals with specialized skills that are highly valued and sought after within the healthcare industry.

Projected Growth in the Healthcare Sector

The career outlook for Electronic Health Record Specialists is positive, with an estimated 14,900 job openings for medical records specialists projected each year. These job projections extend until the year 2031 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicating a promising future for aspiring CEHRS.

Preparing for the CEHRS Exam

Though preparing for the CEHRS exam might seem daunting, with the correct resources and strategies, it can be a smooth process. NHA-certified courses for Electronic Health Records Specialists include comprehensive lessons on:

  • the information stored in EHR systems
  • the steps to implement EHR systems
  • how staff and patients interact with EHR
  • the benefits of EHR systems

Study Resources and Instructional Materials

The NHA offers a free detailed test plan to help candidates study for the CEHRS exam. Additional study materials provided by the NHA may require a fee. These resources can be invaluable in your preparation, providing you with a structured study plan and comprehensive content to help you navigate the exam.

Practice Exams and Reviewing Records

The adage ‘practice makes perfect’ certainly applies to the CEHRS exam. Practice exams are available to aid in preparation for the CEHRS certification test. Reviewing detailed score reports can help identify areas that need improvement before taking the CEHRS exam.

Effective study strategies for the CEHRS exam include:

  • Seeking help from teachers
  • Studying with a partner
  • Using online resources such as Quizlet for flashcards and other study aids to help prepare for the CEHRS exam.

Finding a Suitable Testing Center

The last step in your preparation is to locate an appropriate testing center. The CEHRS exam can be taken at a candidate’s school or an authorized PSI Testing Center. Candidates can locate PSI Testing Centers for the CEHRS exam through the search function on the PSI website.

This process helps you find a testing location that suits your convenience and comfort.

Financial Considerations and Support

The path to becoming a CEHRS involves some financial considerations. Costs for CEHRS certification programs in South Dakota can include tuition, exam fees, and potential training materials. Additional costs may arise from the necessity of continuous education and recertification. However, financial aid options for CEHRS certification can consist of federal student aid, grants, loans, and possibly employer-sponsored tuition assistance. Scholarship opportunities may be available through healthcare institutions or professional organizations related to health information technology.

An understanding of insurance and reimbursement claims is also important for EHR specialists as they may need to engage with reimbursement processes in their professional role.

Program Costs and Financial Assistance

CEHRS certification programs’ cost can vary, ranging from around $4,000 for online programs like MedCerts to as much as $20,000 for community college programs. Additional costs such as exam fees, books, and materials can be included in online program tuition or may add up to $750 when studying at community colleges.

Students pursuing CEHRS certification may be eligible for the Short-term Workforce Development (STWD) grant, providing up to $750.00 towards various educational costs. The STWD grant does not require repayment and is also not considered taxable income, making it a financially advantageous option for students.

Understanding Insurance and Reimbursement Claims

EHR specialists have several important responsibilities, including:

  • Electronically documenting patient care
  • Ensuring the accurate submission of reimbursement claims
  • Performing basic coding
  • Auditing patient records for compliance

These functions are essential in facilitating the reimbursement claims process.

EHR specialists ensure the accuracy and correct processing of healthcare documentation’s financial components, which include claim submission and payment processes.

Workforce Development Boards and Scholarships

Workforce development boards in South Dakota support the workforce needs of local employers and job seekers, including those aiming to become certified electronic health record specialists. These boards provide comprehensive information on job training, employment services, and support services to candidates. Scholarships to cover education and training costs may be available for eligible individuals seeking certification in fields like electronic health record management.

In addition to scholarships, candidates may receive other forms of support such as apprenticeships, work experience opportunities, and on-the-job training programs to enhance their qualifications.


The journey to becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist in South Dakota is a rewarding one, offering a multitude of career opportunities and the chance to play a pivotal role in revolutionizing healthcare. As we’ve seen, this journey encompasses comprehensive training, certification exams, continuous professional development, and potential financial considerations. With the right approach, dedication, and resources, you can navigate this journey successfully and make a significant impact in the field of healthcare.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does an electronic health records specialist do?

An electronic health records specialist focuses on electronically documenting patient care and condition, including auditing records for compliance and abstracting clinical information for reporting.

How much does the CEhrs exam cost?

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

How do I become an EHR specialist?

To become an EHR specialist, you can follow these 5 steps: apply for the exam, set a date, prepare for the exam, take the exam, and get your results. Additionally, earning a certification through an accredited university is a great way to prepare for this position, with no prior experience required.

How do I get EHR certified?

To get EHR certified, you can follow these 5 steps: apply for the exam, set a date, prepare for the exam, take the exam, and then receive your results. Good luck on your journey to becoming a Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist!

What are the prerequisites for becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist?

To become a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist, you need a high school diploma or equivalent, completion of an accredited training program, and at least one year of supervised work experience in the field within the last three years.