Getting Into Nursing Informatics: HITECH EHR EMR Certification


With the implementation of meaningful use in healthcare, and the requirement of EHR for physicians by 2015, there is expected to be creation of 50,000 new jobs in healthcare informatics. This is welcome news to a struggling economy, and very welcome news to nurses who wish to get their nerd on. After searching through various educational resources, linkedin, job listings, and other opportunities I stumbled upon HITECH and the various grants and opportunities that have been created.

HITECH is offering 6 month programs at various community and technical colleges throughout the country, which provide people with a IT or healthcare background with an opportunity for certification in 6 roles in EMR healthcare informatics. You can find out more Facts about Health IT Workforce Development Program, which made aid many of your nurses and clinicians to bridge the gap between technology and healthcare.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology is involved in a 375 billion dollar grant which has created many HITECH Programs

From the US Department of Health and Human Services :

Competency Examination for Individuals Completing Non-Degree Training Program: A grant program to provide $6 million in grants to an institution of higher education (or consortia thereof) to support the development and initial administration of a set of health IT competency examinations. This is one component of the Health IT Workforce Program.

About the Workforce Development Program
ONC has awarded $116 million in funding for the following Health IT Workforce Development Program activities:

Community College Consortia to Educate Health Information Technology Professionals: Five regional groups of 82 community colleges in all 50 states have $68 million in grants to develop or improve non-degree health IT training programs that can be completed in six months or less. The funded community colleges will help train more than 10,500 new health IT professionals by 2012. The programs are designed for professionals with an IT or health care background and focus on training students for the following professional roles:

  • Practice workflow and information management redesign specialists
  • Clinician/practitioner consultants
  • Implementation support specialists
  • Implementation managers
  • Technical/software support
  • Trainers

Nursing Informatics Grants and Scholarships

There are grants available for students wishing to pursue degrees. Specifically, I have seen that Duke university is offering full scholarships to 2 students for their nursing informatics program. It is apparently very competitive and the deadline of August 1st is fast approaching. I’m not quit ready to dive into my Master’s yet, so I will leave this opportunity to those who are willing to make the plunge.

If you’d like information about Duke University’s Nursing Informatics MSN scholarship, which includes full cost of tuition ($16,000), a $15,000, and $2,000 to cover health insurance, visit Duke University’s School of Nursing Financial Aid section.

Duke is not alone in these scholarship opportunities, and a little bit of Googlng or browsing the Health IT Department of Health & Human Services website may provide you with schools that may better fit your geographic needs. But it should be noted that the majority of these programs are offered completely online, with the ability to complete your clinical requirements in your area.

More Facts about Health IT Workforce Development Program:

Program of Assistance for University-Based Training: Nine grants totaling $32 million have been awarded to colleges and universities to quickly establish or expand health IT training programs for health IT professional roles requiring training at the university level. The six professional roles include:

  • Clinician or public health leader
  • Health information management and exchange specialist
  • Health information privacy and security specialist
  • Research and development scientist
  • Programmers and software engineer
  • Health IT sub-specialist

Over the course of the grant, these programs will help more than 1,500 people receive certificates of advanced study or master’s degrees in health IT. All of the certificate programs can be completed in one year or less, and all of the master’s degree programs can be completed in two years or less.

Community College Consortia to Educate Health IT Professionals – A listing of all the schools included in the 6 month certification programs. There are 5 region (A,B,C,D,& E) which have different schools to meet the needs of the people in the area.

For the Southeast

In region D (The southeast) there are 20 community and technical colleges participating.

The courses are completely online, and the costs vary by school. I STRONGLY recommend you check the pricing and class schedules for every school in your region. I found the prices in mine varies greatly from $700 (reimbursed to you at the end of a successfully coarse completion) to $25 non-refundable fee that covered the entirety of the program (including any related text and materials). In addition, some schools only offered classes every 6 months, while others were starting as often as every 2 weeks. The grants are intended to make these programs FREE, but many schools are requiring students to pay fees up front while later being reimbursed.

I’ve personally spent months researching my program and finally found the one that made the most sense. To those in the Southeast, I’m doing you a big favor here, when I tell you to check out Chattanooga State Community College.

While Pitt Community College offered the easiest to navigate website, with the most concise information about the region D HITECH programs, I found Chattanooga State Community college to be a better fit. Their class schedule and their fees were the MOST accommodating .

What I’m Doing

I choose the 6 month certification program in Clinician/practitioner consultant, which includes a free voucher to take the $299 certification exam. This certification is mean for individuals with significant and verifiable healthcare backgrounds.

My class official starts Monday, but I have already poked around at the lectures, discussions, and schedule. Although it does appear that it will be a fairly intense 6 months, I am confident that this will give me a strong informatics base to add to my clinical background. Nursing Informatics here I come.

Questions About HITECH programs?

Feel free to comment below and I will attempt to answer any questions or concerns about the HITECH workforce role development program that I am involved in. The governments website is nothing short of a challenge to navigate, so I complete understand if you feel overwhelmed by it.

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10 thoughts on “Getting Into Nursing Informatics: HITECH EHR EMR Certification”

  1. Hi
    there…..congrats on getting a job….I am a LPN plus I have IT background of
    over 6 years prior to nursing. I am currently taking the 6 month Clinical Practitioner
    consultant class. My question is, when you started to search for a job was it
    hard to apply if you didn’t have a degree in Health Informatics. I ask this
    because when I look for jobs for this particular cert they are asking for a
    degree or 2 to 5 yrs experience in that field. What were your challenges when
    job hunting?

    1. The biggest challenge I think you will find is that most clinical informatics positions request an RN rather than an LPN. You may be able to convince someone you have what it takes, but as a standard 99% of job descriptions wanted an RN with 3-5 years of clinical experience. The IT experience was usually described as “experience with EMR” or if they were looking for someone experienced in informatics “5 years experience in informatics”

      You can get a job without an informatics degree, but I would strongly recommend getting an RN to make your job search easier.

    1. I currently work as a clinical informatics specialist.

      I did find the competition to be fierce and the job hunt was tougher than I expected, but I found a great fit for my skills and personality.

  2. LPN online training

    Thanks for the information.. I really enjoyed reading your post.. I am glad I visited here and come to know about the facts related to it.. I will definitely look forward to it..

  3. Congratulations on starting your program! Next month, I will be starting the clinician leader program at George Washington University. This program is 1 yr long.

    I am hoping that this is the right decision for me and certainly have more questions than answers at this point (will there be real jobs, what exactly will this certificate enable me to do, etc).

    Please keep us updated & I would love to hear any additional insights you have. I will probably be updating my experience via my blog, A Nurse Practitioners View,

    Good luck!

    1. Awesome! Hope you enjoy it.

      From the information I have read, the schools offer job placement assistance at the end of your program. I don’t know exactly what that entails, but it’s a start at least.

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