The Guide To Becoming An Epic EMR/EHR Certified Consultant Part 1:The Certification Process
I recently wrote a post on how to get started and realized that it was lacking and decided to write a more thorough document to help those interested in becoming an Epic Certified Consultant. This should be a pretty easy to follow and answer the 'big' questions you might have.
Part 1: The Certification Process
This is actually the hardest step for those interested in becoming a Certified Consultant. It is actually quite hard to get certified. This is a good thing for those who are actually interested in consulting because it allows for a higher than average income on par with such desirable certifications such as PMP.
You can become certified by the following ways:
Work for a hospital/clinic who has or is implementing Epic
Most Epic Certified consultants enter through this route. Normally they are either former IT employees or Clinical Staff chosen to help implement the different applications within the Epic EMR system. Many hospitals, clinics, and practices are in the process of implementing this system due to their need to meet Meaningful Use requirements.
Some individuals are hired to help implement Epic for these locations or they are reassigned to the Epic implementation project due to project needs. These individuals who work on these project teams have to be certified prior to actually being able to work in the system. These individuals are sent off to Madison, Wisconsin to the Epic headquarters to receive training in the individual applications they are working on. Once trained, these individuals go back and study for six to eight weeks in order to be able to take the application test whereby they have to pass with a score of 85 or higher. It doesn't end there, along with the test, an individual must also complete a project which encompasses a likely build scenario for based on the model system provided by Epic. Upon successful completion of the project and passing the two hour test, an individual is officially certified and will receive a certificate of certification from Epic.
Work for a consulting firm who has a client in need of certified consultants
Other individuals become 'Credentialed' which simply means they work for the practices, hospital, or health network and receive on site training from a Certified Trainer in a specific application. These credentialed individuals are used to support staff on location, assist in training, and are normally the front lines for support of the application. These individuals are essential for 'Go Lives' as they help work hand in hand with the employees who actually have to use the system to support patient needs. Epic Credentialed individuals can be hired by consulting firms and used at different locations during the 'Go Live' phase and as ongoing technical support. The main difference however is that these individuals do not perform build of the individual applications and therefor cannot make changes to the existing system. Their specialty is assisting the patient care individuals in proper work flow and application usage allowing the Epic Certified employees the opportunity to change and fix the system as necessary.
Consulting firms might also have members of their team that have experience in other EHR/EMR systems. While working with their client, they can have a client sponsor an individual consultant to be sent to Epic to get trained on the system. This is a great benefit to both the consulting firms and the client. It allows the consulting firms to up the number of Epic certifications they have in their firm along with providing the client a little to no cost alternative to hiring a new employee and sending them off for training. This is ideal because as a client may transition from one system to the next, it would be a highly valuable option to have an individual who is trained and certified in both systems working at the client site in order to make the transition as clean as possible.
Work for Epic Systems
Outside of those two scenarios is that of former employees of Epic Systems. Former employees have to have at least one year between the time they leave Epic and the time they can work on projects as an Epic consultant. Consulting firms can hire these individuals after their one year away and get them back up to speed through additional training, new version training, or additional certifications. These individuals are usually highly sought after due to the rigorous training they receive from Epic and the experience they have gained from working the grueling hours for supporting multiple Epic installations.
Stay tuned for the next post, The Guide To Becoming An Epic EMR/EHR Certified Consultant Part 2: The Decision To Become A Consultant.