CPHIMS and CAHIMS: International Professional Certificates in Health Informatics

What they are and how to prepare and obtain the most prestigious professional certificates in the world, to leverage your career and increase your employability

Prof. Dr. Renato M.E. Sabbatini, PhD, FACMI, FIAHSI

The Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is the largest scientific and technical organization in health informatics in the world, with more than 65,000 members. Among its many activities, HIMSS has had a two-level professional certification program for years (https://www.himss.org/resources-certification/overview). The highest level is the Certified Professional in Health Information and Management Systems (CPHIMS), which is a prestigious international recognition of professionals in health information technology.

To be eligible for CPHIMS, the candidate must demonstrate a previous professional curriculum in the area, and undergo an exam with objective questions that tests knowledge, skills and abilities, at the generic level of health IT manager (manager, director, CIO , CMIO, CNIO, etc.). It is taught in the USA by HIMSS itself, and in Canada by the Canadian Health Informatics Association (CPHIMS-CA), and must be renewed through continuing education credits and other activities in the area, every 3 years.

To qualify to take the exam and obtain CPHIMS certification, you must have a bachelor’s degree education at an accredited college or university and demonstrate five years of experience in information and management systems, with at least three of those years in an environment of health; or hold a graduate degree and have at least three years of experience in information and management systems, with two of those years in a healthcare setting. A healthcare environment is defined to encompass professional experience at a healthcare service or product provider, or at a healthcare facility (for example, hospital, healthcare consultancy, software vendor, federal, state, or academic institution, health plan operator, public health, etc.).

The second type of professional certificate from HIMSS is CAHIMS, similar to CPHIMS (Certified Associate of Health Information and Management Systems). It corresponds to a beginner level, much easier to obtain, since the minimum requirements are: to have a high school diploma or equivalent and demonstrate at least 45 hours of continuing education in health information technology, digital health or information technology, specifically covering the content outlined by CAHIMS. This exam is a good preparation for the CPHIMS certification.

According to HIMSS, holding a certification such as CPHIMS brings many benefits to a professional career in health informatics, in addition to enhancing your curriculum and achieving greater personal and professional fulfillment. It demonstrates that you meet an international standard of knowledge and professional competence in health information and management systems, greatly increases your visibility and employability at an international level, and increases your credibility and functional progression with your employer. Due to the need to be renewed, the certificate also demonstrates its commitment to continue professional development. In terms of employability, it is excellent. It is practically mandatory for those who want to work in the USA or Canada, or work in a Brazilian company that seeks to enter the American market, as many job offers consider desirable or CPHIMS certification is required, usually for thistles at the managerial level or above. Certificate holders average higher salaries: in the US over $ 150,000 a year. The competition is great, since in the USA and Canada there are already more than 2,000 professionals certified with CPHIMS.

The exams

The content covered by the CPHIMS exam is quite broad:
— the Health Environment
— the technology environment
— Analysis
— Design
— Selection, implementation, support and maintenance
— Testing and Evaluation
— Privacy and security
— Leadership
— Management

The CPHIMS exam consists of 115 multiple-choice questions, in English, covering these three areas of competence: information technology, health systems (USA or Canada) and information systems management. It can be done in person on computers, during HIMSS congresses, or online, through the accredited network, carried out by a specialized company hired by HIMSS, called Prometrics, Inc. Of these 115 questions, the grade is based on the answers of 100 questions, the others are called a pre-test, and your answers are not scored. And the test must be completed in 2 hours, and does not admit consultation. The cut-off score is defined in each exam (between 65 and 70% of the questions are correct).

The candidate must analyze whether he meets the minimum requirements, knowledge, skills and conditions. This information is in an open access publication on the HIMSS website, entitled the CPHIMS Candidate Manual. It is also recommended to take the CPHIMS Practice Exam, which has 100 questions online and serves to assess the level of knowledge in relation to the topics covered by the exam and is very important for the preparation. This tool is available for purchase on the HIMSS website, for $ 90. Feedback during the self-assessment helps to identify areas for further review or study.
The application for the certificate and the exam is made through the website, and the summarized curriculum vitae must be informed at that time. A committee will examine the candidate’s credentials and accept or not. Upon acceptance, the participation fee ($ 450 in the USA) must then be paid, and the candidate can now select the date and place when he / she intends to take the exam.

The CPHIMS Candidate Manual is the complete guide to the examination process. There is an equivalent manual for CAHIMS. It contains an overview of the exam and an exam application form, as well as information on eligibility criteria, how to prepare for the exam, how to apply and schedule the exam, how the exam is conducted and how the exam is given. your score. The renewal of the certificate can be done every 3 years, so as not to lose. It can be through a new exam, or, if possible, through 45 documented hours of participation in continuing education activities (75–80% of courses in pre-approved organizations or in national congresses), credits in academic activities , presentations at congresses, webinars and courses, publications, and also professional services.

Exam questions for CPHIMS are categorized according to three cognitive levels: Evocation (ability to retrieve or recognize specific information, with 27% of questions), Application (ability to understand, relate or apply knowledge to new or changing situations, with 39%), and Analysis (ability to analyze and synthesize information, determine solutions or evaluate the solution, with 34%). Those interested can consult the Examination Detailed Content Outline Applicant Manual, a tabular list of the areas for which the questions are asked, with the respective scores for each cognitive level above.

How to prepare for the exam

HIMSS publishes two guides for reviewing the topics that fall within the exam and that serve as a basis for study and preparation for the exam. It is essential for the candidate to acquire the online or printed version of the official CPHIMS Review Guide book; or the CAHIMS Review Guide. More than 90% of what falls on the exam is covered in detail by these texts. It is possible to study on your own using one of these books and other study materials recommended in a Learning Plan (weekly study plan). Even better is taking a preparatory course, in person or online. HIMSS itself offers two types of courses: the Virtual CPHIMS Review Course, with telepresential classes, and a short classroom course, during the annual congress or in some regional associations (“chapters”), with professors from HIMSS itself. These courses are very short and hurried, and generally insufficient for exam preparation: they are more of a list of topics and some indications of what is most important for the exam. They are quite expensive, for the material presented (225 US dollars). In addition it is necessary to have fluent English (understanding and speaking) to accompany well. The exam only requires fluency in reading English.

Sabbatini Education has also been offering an online English course on the web since 2019, the On-Line Course for the Preparation to CAHIMS and CPHIMS Exam. It is considered to have the best content of all existing courses, including the official HIMSS, and covers all content necessary to be approved by CAHIMS or CPHIMS. In addition, since 2012, it also offers the On-Line Course for the Review of Themes in Health Informatics.

The course offers a highly professional preparation scheme, entirely in English, and is extremely complete, with 62 hours of teaching load, in 9 weekly modules and 10 weeks in duration. Twice a year there is a special edition for Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries. It is completely online, with weekly tele-video conference calls for guidance and resolution of doubts (in Portuguese, in this special edition).

There are also resources for the student to identify and focus the review on tasks that they do not regularly perform or topics with which they are not familiar. This review is done using an interactive online questionnaire with the Competency Gap Assessment, a competency gap assessment tool, which helps you to identify areas where further studies or reviews may be needed most. After identifying the topics on which the student would like to know more or focusing on their review, it is possible to identify the best sources to fill these gaps, and a learning plan is then developed, using the sequence and resources to study CPHIMS or CAHIMS Learning Plan made available. The CAHIMS or CPHIMS Learning Plan is a resource for someone who is completing exam preparation at their own pace. It is intended to guide the student towards resources that can be useful throughout the preparation process, as well as to help determine a programmed approach, to introduce the components of the CPHIMS body of knowledge, to identify the resources that will assist in the preparation of a candidate for the program. exam and establish a weekly schedule including the topics covered, along with resources and tasks aligned with that particular topic.

The study of each module begins by reviewing the CPHIMS or CAHIMS Examination Detailed Content Outline (a summary of the content covered by the exam). The course also offers an exclusive resource for assessing the degree of preparedness, the CPHIMS Readiness Checklist. The student must use the Student Journal to record his progress, doubts, etc., so that the teacher can mentor him, if necessary.

As for exam practices, the Sabbatini Education course also incorporates questionnaires, one for each module, as well as three simulated tests. Each simulation has 100 questions online, was developed using the same procedures as the CPHIMS Exam, and reports the exam specifications on content, cognitive levels, format and difficulty, and is excellent for you to familiarize yourself with the format and type of questions that you will find in the actual CPHIMS exam; The conditions, time limit, response interface, etc., similar to the real exam. There are more than 400 questions.

Find out more about the Sabbatini Education preparation course here: https://bit.ly/efolder-cphims, including an example study module, a full explanatory lecture, a mini-test, and the registration form at http://bit.ly/cphims2

Also watch the video of my talk on the topic: http://education.sabbatini.com/cphims/Palestra_CAHIMS_e_CPHIMS.html



How to cite this article: Sabbatini, Renato M.E .: CPHIMS and CAHIMS: The International Professional Certificates in Health Informatics. Review of Biomedical Informatics. February 5, 2021. Available on the Internet. URL: https://link.medium.com/baNUCFNnzfb

About the Author:

Prof. Renato M.E Sabbatini is a biomedical doctor, graduated and doctorate by the Faculty of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto of the University of São Paulo, Brazil, and Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UNICAMP, where he founded and directed the Center for Biomedical Informatics for 20 years. He is a member of HIMSS, AHIMA, AMIA, IMIA, HL7 International, American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and Fellow of the International Academy of Health Sciences Informatics and of the American College of Medical Informatics. He has been President of the Edumed Institute and the EduCert Education Program in Certification in Information and Communication Technologies in Health. He is currently an Adjunct Professor of Health Informatics and Telehealth at the Bahiana School of Medicine and Public Health, of the UNIMED Faculty, and of the Brazilian Institute of Medical Sciences . He was founder and president of the Brazilian Society for Health Informatics (SBIS), and creator of the Directorship of Education and Professional Training, as well as the proTICS and cpTICS professional certification programs, in 2009–2014. He is the CEO, Sabbatini Consulting and Education. Email: renato@sabbatini.com

Cientista biomédico PhD brasileiro, escritor, divulgador científico, cientista, professor, empresário e consultor.