No longer content to carry only broader designations like FACHE (Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives) or FHIMSS (Fellow Healthcare Information Management System Society), The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), recently launched the first healthcare CIO-specific certification program.
According to CHIME Certification Steering Committee Member (CSCM) George McCulloch — CHCIO, associate director and deputy CIO with Vanderbilt University Medical Center — the program is the first of its kind, being create by healthcare CIOs for healthcare CIOs, with the help of Castle Worldwide, an organization that has developed certification exams in other industries.
The process, said McCulloch, has been extremely intense, starting in the Summer of 2008 with a job analysis study that involved interviewing many top CIOs. Subsequently CHIME came up with 13 core CIO tasks and 75 knowledge and skill points that were critical to being effective in the role. “Those were the basis for the exam writers to create their questions and scenarios,” he said.
In order to become CHCIO Certified, a candidate must do more than apply for, and pass, the test. Candidates must have a minimum of three years experience in the CIO (or CIO equivalent) position, or have accumulated three years of experience in the past six years. They must be a CHIME or CHIME Affiliate (chief medical informatics officers, chief nursing informatics officers) member and possess a BA degree. Additionally applicants must complete 25 qualifying continuing education units (CEUs) within 12 months of passing the test, with CHIME accepting CEUs earned during the 12 months prior to passing the exam as well. Lastly, applicants must uphold the CHCIO Professional Standards of Conduct.
CSCM Randy McCleese, CHCIO, VP-IS and CIO at St. Claire Regional Medical Center, said the exam was written to see if candidates could come up with solutions to complicated scenarios that are faced everyday in the CIO’s world, not simply recall facts and figures. In the initial test, 25 of the 125 questions were scenario-based, with the rest multiple choice. In the next iteration, CHIME is looking for more of a 40/60 split, a significant increase in scenario-based questioning.
CSCM Donna Roach, CHCIO, VP IT and CIO at Bronson Healthcare Group, said it’s critical for applicants to review the materials highlighted in the study guide, which features books like, “The New CIO Leader: Setting the Agenda and Delivering Results,” by Marianne Broadbent and Ellen Kitzis.
CSCM Russ Branzell, CHCIO, CIO and VP, Poudre Valley Health System, said the exam’s focus will keep pace with the changing role of the CIO. “We did education on the CIO 2.0 concept and found the role was changing from technology manager to one that facilitated organizational transformation through the application of technology. With this test, we wanted to ensure people were operating at that higher level.”
In all, 50 CHIME members participated in the exam’s development, covering eight different committees and more than 1,000 working hours. The next CHCIO exam will take place Feb. 27 at the CHIME Spring Forum held in conjunction with the annual HIMSS conference, this year in Atlanta. The deadline to apply is Feb. 19. For more information, contact CHCIO@CIO-CHIME.org.