Where the Health IT & EHR Jobs Are: Take Two

Posted on February 21, 2014 I Written By

When Carl Bergman isn't rooting for the Washington Nationals or searching for a Steeler bar, he’s Managing Partner of EHRSelector.com.For the last dozen years, he’s concentrated on EHR consulting and writing. He spent the 80s and 90s as an itinerant project manager doing his small part for the dot com bubble. Prior to that, Bergman served a ten year stretch in the District of Columbia government as a policy and fiscal analyst, a role he recently repeated for a Council member.

There’s Epic and Then There’s Everybody Else

In the first EHR job review, I looked at the demand for EHR/HIT certifications from organizations such as AHIMA. In this review, I wanted to find the most in demand product certifications. That is, if you’re thinking about being certified in a product, which ones have the most openings? There are two short answers:

  • It’s complicated, and
  • Epic

Where to Look?
Finding openings in the first review was straightforward. In this case, compiling a list of product certifications was more complex.

To start, I assumed that the bigger a company’s market share, the more likely there would be openings. This led to asking, what were the vendor shares? For an answer, I used SK&A’s recent report. They continuously call practitioners about a host of issues. Most other studies are either self selecting web polls or use ONC’s attribution stats. The latter is a hard count, but doesn’t take into account those who don’t participate in MU. In a subsequent post, I’ll cover SK&A’s report and market shares in more depth.

Based on SK&A’s report, here’s the market share for the top 20. Among these, I looked for product certifications for the top dozen, which had a least 2.0 percent of the market.

Table I
EHR Market Share by Practioner Site Size
SK&A – January 2014

No

Vendor

   %

No

Vendor

   %

1

 Epic Systems Corporation

10.8

12

 MedPlus, A Quest Diagnostics Company

1.9

2

 eClinicalWorks

10.0

13

 eMDs, Inc.

1.7

3

 Allscripts

9.5

14

MEDITECH, Inc.

1.7

4

 Practice Fusion

6.4

15

 Sage Software

1.2

5

 NextGen Healthcare

5.7

16

Office Ally

1.2

6

 General Electric Healthcare IT

3.7

17

Community Computer Service Inc.

1.1

7

 Cerner Corporation

3.5

18

 BioMedix Vascular Solutions

1.0

8

 McKesson Provider Technologies

3.4

19

 NexTech Systems, Inc.

0.9

9

 athenahealth, Inc

2.8

20

AdvancedMD 1

0.9

10

 AmazingCharts.com, Inc.

2.5

21

 All Other Vendors (471)

28

11

 Greenway Medical Technologies, Inc.

2.0

 

 

Search Issues

In the prior review, it was simple to find CCA, CPHIMS openings, etc. Product certifications, as a rule, don’t have unique names and may be referred to in many ways. Typical variations for NextGen, etc., are:

  • Certified NextGen professional,
  • NextGen certified,
  • NextGen professional certification, etc.

In addition to these identification issues, there is also the issue of specialties. For example, Epic has about 40 apps from ADT (Inpatient and Outpatient Admission-Discharge-Transfer Application) to Wisdom (Dental Application).

Due to this complexity, and being interested in the relative demand for product certifications, I developed this search protocol, which seems to yield good results:

  • Source. As before, I looked for jobs posted on HealthcareITCentral.com in the last 30 days.
  • Limits. Only look for major product names, that is, not their product varieties.
  • Terms. For each product, I searched for three phrases that varied the product name and the word certification.

Here’s how, for example, here is how I searched for Allscripts’ certifications:

  • Allscripts certified
  • Allscripts certification, and
  • Certified Allscripts

As a check, I also did a Google search for Allscripts and certification to see if I missed a substantial number of openings.

This approach yielded, I believe, a representative group of openings, but it’s not all encompassing. For example, some job ads combine product names. An ad might say Allscripts/Epic certification, but the search engine won’t find Allscripts.

Searching for the words Allscripts and certification will capture more certification openings, but it also will bring up a slew of unrelated others.

The best way, then, to find these openings would be to search for the company name and certification, etc., within so many words of each other. This is called a proximity search. Many text search engines do proximity searches, but I don’t know of a job search engine that does.

Product Certification Openings

With that said, Table I shows the 134 openings I found among the top ten EHRs with 2 percent or more of the market.  This is quite low compared to the general demand for persons with Cerner, NextGen experience. Of the 134, Epic with 90 percent dominates. Only NextGen, with 11 has any other significant demand.

Table II
Product Certification Openings

Vendor

Openings

Epic

120

NextGen

11

Cerner

2

Allscripts

1

Total

134

Chart I shows the states with significant openings. It also shows how  a state’s openings rank compares to its population ranking:

  • Red Columns. Openings per state.
  • Purple Columns. These show how a state’s jobs rank compares to its population share. For example, if a state’s job rank is plus four then its jobs are four levels above its population rank. Conversely, if a state is minus four, its share is four less than its population rank.

It’s no surprise that the states with the largest populations have the most jobs. California leads with 36 openings. There are notable exceptions, such as Colorado, whose openings far outrank its population rank.

To Certify or Not To Certify

I was surprised that several products, such as eClinicalWorks, had no demand. There’s a good reason. From what I later discovered, eClinicalWorks, among others, doesn’t certify users of their products. Indeed, I found it is difficult to know which products have certification programs. Even if they do, it’s not easy to find details. For example, I’ve called and written Epic to find the details of its programs, but so far no response.

As a result, I’ve decided to look at the vendor certification program issue. I want to find out from vendors why they do or do not have programs, their market targets and their level of participation.

The lesson from this review is simple, if you have an Epic certification and live in California, you have good odds of finding a job match. If you are looking to become certified in a product, Epic would appear to be your best shot. However, that may not be the case.

Product specific certification programs are odd beasts. Much depends not only on your product experience, but also on the product vendor’s attitude toward you. Some vendors may have an open door to those who want to learn the product. Others, such as Epic, insist that you be part of an active Epic practice and they do all the training at their Verona, WI headquarters. There is no easy or accessible way to know the ground rules unless you are already using or have used the product.

If you are already familiar with a product, you may find that using social media and personal contacts are the best path to new work rather than setting out to be certified in another product.