The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives is launching a new certification program that seeks to acknowledge the expertise of executives who work for companies that provide products or services to the healthcare industry.

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based professional organization has launched the CHIME Foundation Certified Healthcare Executive program (CFCHE) for information technology professionals who are not CIOs, but are at a senior level and have other achievements in the HIT industry.

Professionals who may seek the new designation may be consultants, implementers, sales representatives or in other roles, says Keith Fraidenburg, executive vice president and COO at CHIME.

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CHIME believes the new designation will facilitate interactions within the healthcare IT industry, he says. For example, when a CIO or other technology professional discusses technology with a person with a CFCHE designation, the CIO will know the other person has passed a difficult exam and has studied the challenges facing CIOs, other healthcare leaders and payers, along with other IT professionals outside a healthcare organization, Fraidenburg says.

CHIME has experience creating professional designations for the healthcare IT industry. In 2009 it began a certification program for IT executives called the Certified Healthcare CIO (CHCIO) program. Currently, more than 350 CHIME members have studied for and achieved the CHCIO title. Becoming a CHCIO is a demonstration of knowledge, skill and competency earned over several years and is the CIO equivalent of being a “black belt,” Fraidenburg contends.

For CHIME’s newest program, after an individual has registered to participate in the CFCHE certification program, a candidate will get an extensive list of reading materials, and will take a sample exam that is not like the real exam but written in the same way as the CIO exam to ascertain where the candidate did well and where he or she needs to improve.

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