Advice from a CHCIO: Look for Certification in Foundation Members, Too
By Spencer Hamons, CHCIO, CFCHE, FACHE
You are in a meeting, cautiously optimistic that the upcoming presentation will alleviate some of the challenges you and your health system face. The sales representative steps to the white board, eager to share his company’s solution. He writes P-A-X.
You cross him off your list before he finishes the second stroke of the X.
As the former CIO and COO for Taos Health System, I know how important it is for senior healthcare IT executives like CHIME’s membership to have counterparts in the industry who truly understand a health system’s business and how it functions. One seemingly simple error – the faux pax, so to speak, of confusing PACS for PAX, for instance – sends up red flags that this person is not sufficiently knowledgeable to help you and your C-suite meet your goals.
I had the advantage of experience as a CIO in provider settings before I accepted a position with NetApp. I benefited from CHIME’s educational and professional development resources, including the opportunity to become a CHIME Certified Healthcare CIO, or CHCIO. With NetApp as a Foundation firm, some likeminded colleagues and I teamed up with CHIME and the CHIME Foundation to assist with the creation of a similar credential for Foundation representatives, akin to the CHCIO. I still maintain my CHCIO credentials, but I also pursued the CHIME Foundation Certified Healthcare Executive, or CFCHE.
While the CFCHE exam differs significantly from the CHCIO exam, it still requires extensive preparation, sets high standards and thoroughly tests an applicant’s knowledge of the healthcare industry, its complexities and its many challenges. Once certified, a CFCHE must commit to ongoing education, just like the CHCIO, and to upholding CHIME’s Professional Standards of Conduct. For both the CHCIO and CFCHE, embracing the concept of life-long learning is essential.
The biggest benefit of the CFCHE certification is for the CIO, CTO and other leaders at the healthcare organizations across the county. Leaders looking to partner with any variety of vendors will know that a CFCHE certified individual “gets it.” Unlike a CHCIO, a person holding the CFCHE credential may never have worked in a hospital or health system, but CFCHEs understand how to be strategic partners. Additionally, that individual, and just as importantly, the company they work for, recognize that investing in long-term relationships and industry-specific education is essential for success in this challenging industry. The PAX scenario I described above really happened, and many CIOs probably have a similar tale. The CFCHE is designed to help you avoid such experiences when working with Foundation firms and vendor partners in general.
Only Foundation firm members are eligible to participate, so CIOs first may want to ask their industry contacts if they belong to the CHIME Foundation, and if they do, do they have staff-members certified as CFCHEs. If they are, you are in luck. If they aren’t, encourage them to pursue it – for your benefit, their benefit and the benefit of the healthcare industry overall.
Editor’s note: Learn more about the CFCHE program here. This year’s CHIME Partner Education Summit on Sept. 4-6 will include breakout sessions on specific CFCHE domains. The agenda and registration information are available here.