The AHIMA Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS®) credential recognizes individuals who have achieved expertise in designing, implementing, and administering privacy and security protection programs in all types of healthcare organizations. Holders demonstrate advanced knowledge of the privacy and security dimensions of health information management to include best management practices.
For this series, “My Credential Story,” we spoke to two CHPS credential holders about their careers and how the credential has helped them differentiate themselves in the field. Read part one.
The Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS®) credential has been incredibly helpful throughout my HIPAA compliance career. The combination of privacy and security domains within this certification was perfect for me in my current dual role of privacy and information security officer.
Even without a dual role, privacy officers benefit from this certification, as they must have a basic understanding of the HIPAA security regulations to assure that technical safeguards and policies are in place so that electronic protected health information is not breached. Privacy officers also must have some understanding of information security, as they communicate with information technology staff and investigate security incidents to determine if breach notification is required.
I obtained my CHPS in 2010. At the time of my exam, I found HIPAA compliance was somewhat of a niche profession, which made it difficult to find others with the expertise and knowledge needed for networking and problem-solving. I scrambled to learn more and to find resources. When I discovered AHIMA and the CHPS certification, I knew this was just what I needed to feel more comfortable in my role and to advance my career.
As soon as I met the eligibility requirements, I began preparing for the exam. Armed with study materials provided by AHIMA, I formed a study group of local privacy and security professionals who were interested in taking the exam. With most of our backgrounds at the time specific to privacy, we had some trepidation about the security components of the exam. Fortunately, we had an expert information security professional on our team, and with the prep materials, study group meetings, and sharing real-life scenarios, our pass rate was 90 percent.
This initial step of preparing for and completing the CHPS certification created a solid foundation for my HIPAA compliance career and instilled confidence as my role evolved from privacy/information security specialist into privacy/information security officer. Another benefit the CHPS certification provided was the immediate recognition that I had experience and certification in healthcare privacy and security. This may not have been readily evident otherwise, as my education background as a registered nurse was not typical for a privacy or information security officer.
Many years later, I am still learning, and the CHPS certification helps keep me motivated with the continuing education units required for recertification. This is especially important for me to keep up to date concerning modifications to the privacy rule, along with the ongoing information security threats in healthcare.
I am grateful that I have the CHPS certification and feel it is a very important one for HIPAA compliance professionals to have. Whether simply included in an email signature line, listed in a professional publication, or on a resume, the CHPS certification readily communicates that I have a credential that is unique and specific to healthcare privacy and security, and demonstrates a certain level of expertise.
Dana DeMasters (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a privacy/information security officer at Liberty Hospital in Liberty, MO.
Learn more about the CHPS credential and exam here.
Register for the exam prep course here.