Preparing students for the NHA Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS) exam can seem difficult at first glance.
You want to help your students earn their certification and head off to their careers as EHR specialists.
But where do you start?
On this page, we’ll discuss six key steps to preparing your students for the NHA CEHRS exam and their future careers:
- Get to know the exam
- Choose your main instructional materials
- Supplement with additional resources
- Plan your course syllabus
- Go over what students should expect on test day
- Wish your students good luck
We’ll start with the most important step -- knowing what’s on the exam!
1. Get to Know the NHA CEHRS Exam
The NHA CEHRS exam measures students’ skills and knowledge of working with electronic health records.
The test contains 100 scored questions and 10 pretest items the NHA uses to gather data.
These questions fall under five topic areas, called domains:
- Non-Clinical Operations (28%)
- Clinical Operations (32%)
- Revenue Cycle/Finance (15%)
- Regulatory Compliance (15%)
- Reporting (10%)
Each of the domains includes further detailed competencies that students need to know to pass the exam.
To learn the full details of what’s on the exam, read this article: What Is the NHA CEHRS Exam?
Once you know the ins-and-outs of the exam, you’ll be ready for step two!
2. Choose Your Main Instructional Materials
There are a variety of instructional resources you can use to teach a course on electronic health records.
But how can you decide which ones will work for you and your students?
Many teachers immediately think of using test prep materials.
Study guides and practice exams are excellent tools to measure student knowledge, but they don’t help you teach the material.
To start, it’s best to implement a strong foundational CEHRS curriculum.
To accomplish this, you’ll need a resource that aligns well to the NHA CEHRS exam and covers other related topics and skills.
After all, you’ll want to do more than just teach to the test!
Often, health science instructors use one of these types of instructional materials:
- Health science textbooks
- Homemade curriculum
- Digital curriculum systems
Health Science Textbooks
Textbooks about electronic health records are one of the most common resources teachers use since many teachers learned from textbooks themselves.
Textbooks can help students learn about new concepts and detailed information while providing a lot of flexibility with your preferred teaching style.
However, there aren’t many textbooks specifically focused on preparing students for the NHA CEHRS exam.
On top of that, textbooks can become quickly outdated when the certification or industry technology changes.
This can cause a big problem in a course so focused on using healthcare technology!
That means you’ll need to purchase new textbooks (if they’re available) on a regular basis or risk teaching outdated information to your students.
That’s why many health science teachers choose to create their own curriculum.
Homemade CEHRS Curriculum
When you build your CEHRS curriculum from the ground up, you have complete control over what’s in it.
That means you’ll be able to ensure everything on the CEHRS exam is included in your lessons.
Plus, you’ll know everything in your curriculum up to date (as long as you referenced the most recent exam when creating it)!
However, building your own curriculum takes a lot more time! You could end up spending your nights and weekends planning lessons, creating class materials, and grading student work.
On top of that, if your course standards or the exam changes, you’ll have to go back and re-do a lot of that work over again!
That’s why so many instructors have implemented a digital curriculum system as their main instructional material.
Digital Curriculum Systems
A digital curriculum system is a great way to ensure you’re teaching the most up-to-date information in CEHRS classes.
That’s because it’s specifically designed to include the most current information through automatic updates.
That means if healthcare industry standards or the certification requirements change, the digital curriculum is updated, often for free!
In addition, digital curriculum comes packed with teaching tools, student activities, lessons, assessments, and more.
This makes it work great in a blended learning environment, which works best with the supplemental resources you choose in step three!
3. Supplement Your CEHRS Curriculum with Additional Resources
Once you’ve chosen your main CEHRS curriculum, it’s smart to include other resources to get students ready for the exam.
The most common supplemental resources are test prep materials and online study tools.
Test Prep Materials for the NHA CEHRS Exam
The NHA provides a number of CEHRS test prep material options for students to purchase. These include:
- An online practice test
- An online study guide
- A printed study guide
- A study guide and practice test package
These resources are excellent ways to help prepare students for the NHA CEHRS exam. After all, they’re created by the exam provider!
The only downside is the cost of the materials. Because students need to purchase these items on their own, it may not be the best option for you to use as a required resource.
To avoid this potential issue, some teachers opt to create their own practice exams and study guides. Though this takes extra time on your end, it can be well worth it to help students pass the test!
Online Study Tools for NHA CEHRS Test Prep
Along with traditional study materials, many teachers use online study tools to get their students ready for the NHA CEHRS exam.
One of the most common online study tools is Quizlet. With a quick search, you and your students can find a number of flashcards and other study tools for the NHA CEHRS exam.
These resources are a great way for students to review material in an interactive way.
However, you should keep in mind that these free tools aren’t monitored for accuracy against the NHA exam or industry standards.
If you plan to use these types of tools, it’s smart to review them before sharing them with students!
After finalizing the materials for your course, it’s time to plan your syllabus!
4. Plan Your CEHRS Course Syllabus
By planning your syllabus from day one to exam day, you’ll ensure every bit of class time is well spent.
When creating your syllabus, we recommend following the four phases of education:
- Explore: Students discover a concept
- Learn & Practice: Students apply their discoveries
- Reflect: Students review what they’ve learned
- Reinforce: Students apply theory, concepts, and materials to scenarios
Let’s dive into what these phases look like in relation to certification prep.
Phase 1 - Explore
In the Explore phase, you’ll introduce key concepts and information your students will need to know before learning hands-on skills.
To do this, some teachers use a presentation to lecture while students take notes.
Others use an activity to get students thinking about the new concepts they’ll learn.
The route you take may depend on the concepts in the lesson.
Either way, it’s important to encourage students to ask questions and make sure they understand everything before moving onto phase two.
Phase 2 - Learn & Practice
In the Learn & Practice phase, it’s time for students to work independently and get into the details.
Depending on your instructional materials, this portion of class time will vary.
If you’re using a textbook, have students go through the book to take notes or complete a worksheet.
If you’re using a digital curriculum, now is the perfect time for students to log in and go through the digital lessons and guided notes.
Then you can transition to the related skills and give students practice within an EHR system.
This works best if you demonstrate the task while explaining each step and answering questions as needed.
After your demonstration, have students break into small groups to practice.
During the group work, you can walk around the room to answer questions, give praise, and make suggestions when necessary.
Phase 3 - Reflect
Traditionally, the Reflect phase involves students reviewing what they’ve learned by completing an activity.
When it comes to certification prep, the Reflect phase includes an additional piece -- practice tests.
Part way through the semester, have students take practice exams to measure how ready they are to take the CEHRS exam.
After students take the practice tests, look at their results to spot anything you need to review.
Look for topics or types of questions that most students missed. This will give you critical information about what you should reinforce prior to exam day!
Phase 4 - Reinforce
The Reinforce phase traditionally requires students to apply what they’ve learned through critical thinking and problem solving scenarios.
In terms of certification prep, reinforcement also ties in with remediation.
After reviewing the practice exam results, you have tons of information at your fingertips when it comes to helping your students. .
Reinforcement and remediation are crucial to getting your students ready for the NHA CEHRS exam.
It’s best to dedicate a few days at the end of your semester to review information and reinforce what students need to know.
Many teachers find remediation strategies like tutoring, small group review, and re-teaching lessons work well to accomplish this.
Overall, following the four phases to plan your syllabus will set you and your students up for success!
5. Go Over What Students Should Expect on Test Day
As test day approaches, it’s smart to walk your students through the logistics of what they should expect.
A week prior to the exam, spend time discussing:
- How many questions are on the test (100 test questions and 10 pretest items)
- How much time they have to take the test (1 hour and 50 minutes)
- Where they will take the exam (your school or a designated testing center)
By answering these questions about how the day will go, you’ll help alleviate some of your students’ last-minute test anxiety!
6. Wish Your Students Good Luck
The final step for setting your students up for success on the NHA CEHRS exam is giving them words of encouragement.
You’ve spent the semester planning, teaching, assessing, and reviewing. But now it’s up to your students to apply everything they’ve learned!
This may seem unimportant, but sometimes a boost of confidence is all a student needs to put their best foot forward on exam day!