Your Guide to Becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist in Virginia

Interested in becoming a certified electronic health record specialist in Virginia? Quickly navigate the essentials: from certification steps to the requisite skills, and from state-specific training programs to job opportunities. This guide lays out the practical details you need to advance in the CEHRS field within Virginia’s healthcare landscape.

Key Takeaways

  • A Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRS) manages digital patient data, ensuring accuracy and security while complying with regulations like HIPAA and supporting healthcare professionals.
  • Becoming a CEHRS requires a diverse skill set that includes technical expertise, critical thinking, and a solid understanding of medical terminology; NHA certification is required and must be renewed every two years.
  • In Virginia, numerous training options are available for aspiring EHR specialists, ranging from online courses to in-person programs, and professionals in this field have a solid job market with opportunities for career growth.
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The Role of a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist

A group of healthcare professionals discussing electronic health records

A Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRS) is a healthcare professional who ensures the integrity and security of digital patient records. On a typical day, they document patient healthcare services data, confirm the completeness and accuracy of health records, and correct any errors. This crucial role safeguards the medical history of patients, ensuring that the record of symptoms, examination, test results, and treatments are accurate.

In addition to maintaining patient records, CEHRS professionals are also responsible for auditing patient records and:

  • Implementing and supporting the EHR system within healthcare organizations
  • Ensuring that all records, including personal health records, are available to healthcare professionals when they need them
  • Complying with regulatory requirements, such as maintaining patient privacy and security under HIPAA
  • Informing patients about accessing their health records electronically

Working closely with clinical staff, CEHRS professionals guarantee proper documentation of patient encounters in the EHR system. This not only facilitates effective communication among healthcare providers but also enhances patient care quality. Therefore, electronic health records specialists play a pivotal role in healthcare administration, ensuring healthcare documentation integrity and encouraging EHR adoption.

Key Skills for Electronic Health Records Specialists

An electronic health records specialist analyzing medical data on a computer

Being an electronic health records specialist requires more than just technical expertise. It demands a blend of skills, including critical thinking, communication, and attention to detail. These professionals need to possess a solid understanding of medical terminology and should be adept at adhering to healthcare compliance standards. This ensures the integrity of healthcare documentation and facilitates effective personal health record communication.

EHR specialists also need to be skilled in extracting data from medical records and assigning correct diagnosis and procedure codes. They should also understand database construction and management. In addition to these specialized skills, essential general skills include organizational skills, customer service aptitude, clerical abilities, and effective communication. With a comprehensive knowledge of computer sciences, information technology, data coding, data entry, and medical terminology, an EHR specialist can ensure effective auditing of patient records and contribute significantly to healthcare administration.

Pursuing Certification: The National Healthcareer Association (NHA)

Becoming a certified electronic health records specialist involves passing a certification exam conducted by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). The exam covers a wide range of topics, including:

  • Healthcare data content and structure
  • Information governance
  • Information technology systems
  • Quality and revenue cycle management

This ensures that certified professionals are well-equipped to handle the complexities of the job and contribute effectively to the healthcare industry, with their verification successful waiting period completed.

Successful candidates receive an NHA certificate, a nationally recognized CEHRS designation that signifies official certification. This certification not only boosts the credibility of the specialist but also opens up avenues for better job opportunities in healthcare facilities, medical practices, and healthcare administration. However, it’s important to note that this certification requires renewal every two years, ensuring that the professionals stay updated in this dynamic field.

Virginia-Based Training Programs

In Virginia, there are various training programs designed to prepare aspiring EHR specialists for the NHA certification exam. The programs are offered in both online and in-person formats, catering to a range of learning preferences and schedules.

Online Options

Distance education and e-learning provide efficient and cost-effective methods for training in Health Information Technology (HIT) and Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Virginia Wesleyan University, for instance, offers an online CEHRS program designed to prepare students for the NHA certification exam. The program, costing $1,975.00 with financing options available, covers crucial topics such as medical law, ethics, and HIPAA, and provides vouchers for certification exams.

The combined online program for Certified Clinical Medical Assistants and Certified Electronic Health Records Specialists at Virginia Wesleyan University is comprehensive, offering CPR certification and an opportunity for unpaid clinical experience in addition to preparing for certification exams. This prepares students not only for the certification but also for real-world challenges in the healthcare field.

In-Person Programs

For those who prefer hands-on learning experiences, in-person programs provide an excellent option. Wytheville Community College in Virginia, for instance, provides a Career Studies Certificate for Electronic Medical Records Specialist. This program focuses on the management of health information in both paper files and electronic systems, providing a comprehensive understanding of the field.

Admission to the in-person program at Wytheville Community College requires meeting the general college admission criteria. The program spans two semesters and includes:

  • A deep dive into the intricacies of electronic medical records
  • Hands-on experience to prepare students for real-world challenges, allowing them to grasp concepts in just a few seconds
  • Equipping students with the skills to handle the demands of the job

This program ensures that students are well-prepared for a career in electronic medical records and practice management systems.

Importance of EHR Adoption in Virginia’s Healthcare Industry

A healthcare professional using electronic health record software

The adoption of electronic health records is a major federal initiative, supported by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) through the Promoting Interoperability Initiative. In Virginia, the Department of Health and the Department of Medical Assistance Services are playing a key role in supporting EHR adoption by assisting hospitals and professionals in meeting Promoting Interoperability requirements and offering financial incentives through the Medicaid Provider Incentive Program. As a result, major federal initiatives like this one are making a significant impact on the electronic health landscape, including the process of submitting reimbursement claims.

The Virginia Department of Veterans Affairs is also contributing to this effort by introducing a new EHR system aimed at creating a unified healthcare experience. With the implementation of new EHR systems, Virginia expects to enhance patient safety, health outcomes, and data management. This includes improving health information sharing and introducing tools like a new patient-appointment scheduling experience, as well as incorporating vocabulary for patient visit management. This major initiative encourages EHR adoption, augmenting the demand for EHR specialists.

Job Opportunities and Work Settings

Certified Electronic Health Records Specialists in Virginia can find work in a diverse range of settings including:

  • Hospitals
  • Private practices
  • Home health agencies
  • Insurance companies
  • Government agencies

Hospitals, in particular, are a primary setting for EHR specialists due to their extensive use of EHR systems.

Job opportunities for EHR specialists in Virginia can be found in various settings, including:

  • Clinics and physician practices, where they manage patient health records
  • Long-term care facilities, where they handle EHR management for residents
  • Ambulatory care centers, where they manage EHRs for outpatient services
  • Health Information Management departments
  • Government agencies

These sectors offer ample employment opportunities for EHR specialists in Virginia.

Thus, there are numerous avenues for EHR specialists to find suitable employment in Virginia.

Salary Expectations and Career Growth

As an Electronic Medical Records Specialist in Virginia, you can expect to earn a median base salary of approximately $42,000 per year, with a total pay range between $36,000 and $49,000 annually. It’s noteworthy that additional pay beyond the base salary, such as cash bonuses, stock options, commissions, profit sharing, or tips, is not a significant factor for Electronic Medical Records Specialists at Valley Health, as the average additional pay is reported to be $0 per year.

While the salary figures provide a clear picture of the financial prospects, the career growth opportunities are also impressive. With a growing trend of EHR adoption in Virginia’s healthcare industry, the demand for certified EHR specialists is expected to rise. Therefore, as an EHR specialist, you not only have a rewarding career in terms of salary but also a promising career growth trajectory.

Continuing Education and Ongoing Training

In an industry as dynamic as healthcare, the importance of continuing education and ongoing training cannot be overstated. EHR specialists must stay updated on healthcare laws and regulations, such as HIPAA, necessitating continuous education. This is critical to ensure compliance and to maintain the integrity of patient data. Care record ongoing training is a vital aspect of this process.

Regular updates and education on Health Information Technology are required for healthcare providers to be meaningful users. This involves interactive tutorials and engagement from nurses and other healthcare professionals. Moreover, effective ongoing training is supported by engaging organizational stakeholders and staff champions in the adoption of desired behaviors, as well as efforts to support research registries.

By staying updated and continually learning, EHR specialists can ensure that they are always at the top of their game.

Tips for Success in the Electronic Health Records Field

The journey to becoming a successful electronic health records specialist involves mastering a comprehensive set of skills. This includes:

  • Technical skills necessary to manage EHR systems
  • Communication skills to train administrative staff
  • Critical thinking skills to address technical issues

Moreover, project management expertise is valued for professionals to efficiently oversee EHR-related tasks and implementations. This involves overseeing the complete lifecycle of an EHR implementation, including:

  • Planning
  • Design
  • Training
  • Support

With these skills and expertise, and by keeping up with the latest developments in healthcare laws, regulations, and technology, EHR specialists can ensure successful careers in the field.


In summary, the role of a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist is crucial in the modern healthcare industry. With the increasing adoption of EHR systems in Virginia, the demand for certified EHR specialists is on the rise. By mastering a comprehensive skill set, undergoing the right training, and obtaining certification, aspiring professionals can embark on a rewarding career path.

As we move further into the digital era, the role of EHR specialists will continue to grow in importance. So, if you’re considering a career in the healthcare industry, becoming a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist could be an excellent choice. It’s not just a job – it’s a career where you can contribute to improving patient care and make a real difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does an electronic health records specialist make in Virginia?

In Virginia, an electronic health records specialist typically makes between $35,700 and $51,600.

How do I get EHR certified?

You can get EHR certified by applying for the Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) exam online, setting a date for the exam, preparing thoroughly, taking the exam, and receiving your results. Good luck on your certification journey!

How do I become an EHR specialist?

To become an EHR specialist, you should apply for the Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) exam through a free NHA account, set a date, prepare for the exam, take it, and then get your results. This certification can be earned with just a high school diploma or equivalent and no prior experience is needed.

How much does the CEhrs exam cost?

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

What is the role of a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRS)?

The role of a Certified Electronic Health Record Specialist (CEHRS) is to manage and protect digital patient records, ensure accuracy and compliance with regulations, and facilitate effective communication among healthcare providers.