I remember 5 or more years ago writing about the need for EHR software to be available as part of a healthcare IT and medical education. Adding EHR education to a medical education is a much larger question we won’t discuss here (Where would you fit it?), but there’s a need for EHR software to be available for those in education.
This came to mind recently for two reasons. First, someone reached out to me to ask if there was an EHR that they could use as part of an EHR course that they’d created. It had been so long since I’d thought of the subject, I couldn’t remember the exact programs that were out there. I vaguely remembered Practice Fusion having a program (makes sense that a Free EHR would make their EHR available to education) for education and someone else (maybe Amazing Charts?). I’ve also known a number of the ONC funded community college programs using some form of Vista (the free open source EHR) in their program. However, I’d heard some bad reviews from people who had that experience. My guess is that they used a plain vanilla install of Vista and that wouldn’t likely mimic the real world.
Since the answer to my friend was pretty awful, I told her that I’d blog about it and see if there were other EHR vendors who would be willing to offer their EHR as part of an EHR course or other education endeavor. Just drop a comment on this post or let me know on the contact us page if you’d like me to connect you with my friend.
The second reason this was of interest to me is that one of my heroes (spiritual, business, and life) is now the President of a business college. I recently got a chance to have lunch with him and he asked about whether they should create a program that taught healthcare technology. They already had a medical coding course and wondered if health IT would be a good place to expand.
My answer to him was simple. If he could convince Epic or Cerner to let his students come away with an Epic or Cerner certification, then he should go for it. My only partial concern was that these graduates would come away with an Epic or Cerner certification, but only an associates degree. That might cause a problem for healthcare HR departments which often have Bachelor’s degree as a requirement to work at the hospital. I think most HR departments at hospitals would be perplexed how someone was Epic certified, but didn’t have a bachelor’s degree. However, they could probably work something out.
Having run the Healthcare IT Central job board for a number of years now, I know first hand the value of an Epic or Cerner certification. Is there another EHR certification (or experience) that’s really valuable and sought after out there? MEDITECH probably comes the closest. There is still quite a bit of demand for that expertise. Are there others you’re having problems filling?
Let me look at this another way. Which EHR systems would be valuable as part of an EHR course? Is the knowledge general enough that you could work on most of the EHR systems and switch to the next system? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
No doubt, demand for experience in these various EHR systems is going to be high. Although, what’s the right pathway for someone new to healthcare IT or new to EHR? Should we be training new health IT professionals in schools on these EHR? I’d love to hear your thoughts.