Q: How important are some of the basic information technology certifications (including CompTIA Network+ and Security+) for biomeds? Are they worth the time and effort? Will they make me better at my job?
A: A+ covers a broad base of everything you need to know for a job in desktop support. Network+ gives you a good footing as to how networks work. Security+ covers the basics of security. I highly recommend A+ and Net+ to everyone (they are relatively easy to pass and will give you a nice base knowledge to stand on). As far as Security+ or moving on to Cisco or MS certifications, those are very path dependent and depend on what it is exactly you want to do with your life when you grow up (still trying to figure that out myself). But A+ and Net+ would benefit everyone in the field as most biomed education programs sorely lack this aspect. Also, those two certifications will cover everything you need to know from an IT perspective for the CBET.
A: Yes! IS does not understand my needs and in a lot of cases don’t know what to do, any knowledge you have that will make it easier for you to work with networked systems, especially as EHR and medical systems are being more and more integrated, you will want this knowledge.
A: I think the usefulness of them is variable, depending on your employer, and your own attitude towards your profession. Let’s look at it this way:
Now, the Cons:
The end result: If you think it’s worth it … then it’s worth it.
A: To know basic computer and networking is very essential for current biomeds. As you know that most hospitals are going to EHR. This means that many bedside monitors are connected to the cloud and a doctor can retrieve the data any time and anywhere. Thus, we have to know how to configure the network, diagnosis, and troubleshoot any problems related to these technologies. As a certified CompTIA A+, Net+, and Security+, I do not have problems resolving any issues. It is to be one of the core knowledge sets for biomeds now.
A: Some of the basic certifications are mostly for people to know your basic skill sets have been verified. Any biomed should get his CBET certification and a computer certification of some kind. Instead of a generic NET+, I went with a CCNA but a NET+ is fine, I think. A CCNA is a lot harder to get. You will not use those Cisco skills more than likely. IT and biomed are merging more and more every year. I think of certifications as being for my next job search to a certain degree. An A+ would not hurt.
A: It is my opinion that the IT certifications (networking, cybersecurity, etc …) are very valuable for our career field. If HTM departments are not involved in some way, shape or form in the IT space, then I would classify them as dinosaurs and we know what happened to the dinosaurs, they became extinct. I would venture a guess that at least 60 percent of the medical device inventories in our acute care facilities in the U.S. touch the hospital network. This fact should keep HTM personnel up at night as well as the facility leadership and board of directors. How are facilities protecting patient PHI that are either stored or collected by these medical devices? Do you, the HTM professionals, know which devices in your inventory contain PHI? Are you exploiting the power of your CMMS system to manage your risks associated with medical devices in your inventory? Can you provide your IT and facility leadership with a clear inventory of devices that touch the network and contain PHI? Does your CMMS identify and document which devices are encrypted or have other software protections and who manages those strategies, i.e. OEM, IT, HTM? HTM professionals can no longer bury their heads in the sand as it relates to these risks. If they do decide to go down that route of, “Hey, that is not my job, that is the job of IT” then they have just relegated themselves to the way of the dinosaurs, extinction. Your facility will find someone who will manage this technology and provide strategies for managing these risks that exist with medical devices on the network. I personally felt that this area of Healthcare Technology Management was so important for me that I pursued and earned certifications in cybersecurity and HIPAA standards. I feel these certifications have provided great value for my employer and the patients that I serve.
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