Ready, Set, Interview……..

No two interviews are alike. But if you go into your interview having practiced your answers to these questions, you’ll be poised for success.


These are attributes that help qualify you for the job. Identify five strengths that you feel are most in line with the job that you’re interviewing for and give a brief example of how you successfully applied each particular strength in a work situation.


Everybody has weaknesses, but keep your answer work-related. When pointing out weaknesses, stay away from personal behaviors and instead focus on professional attributes.


Everyone feels stress; the only difference is in the degree. Give examples of how you have effectively handled stress at work.


Don’t mention goals that you know are most likely not attainable. Instead, emphasize your interest in thoroughly mastering the job that you are applying for.


This is your chance to highlight your organizational skills, positive attitude, and confidence—qualities that make you an ideal candidate for the job. Reiterate some of the key functions of the job, and describe how your qualifications match their requirements.


The interviewer is most likely looking for an example of your problem-solving skills and the confidence you showed when using them. Emphasize the skills you used to handle a problem, such as organizational and interactive skills, resolution, or mediation.


Don’t start your conversation by criticizing an employer. Instead, fit your answer to company issues, such as the fact that the company is being bought or shutdown, or personal issues, such as lack of opportunity.


The answers employers are looking for reflect how you would effectively use your skills and experience when challenges present themselves, if you were hired for the job. Describe specific examples of challenges you have met and goals that you have achieved.

With this checklist, a little preparation, and a healthy measure of confidence, interviewing for your next dream job can be a snap!

Skills Employers are Seeking

Characteristics Employers are Seeking
Soft Skills

Passionately curious about health, business or technology
Effective Communicator
Team Player
Analytical & Problem Solving Skills
Critical Thinker
Technical Skills

Microsoft Office
Troubleshooting experience
Strong understanding of computer software and technology
Familiarity with features and functionality of electronic medical records
Knowledge of healthcare and IT ACRONYMS
Understanding of basic healthcare processes and workflow
Project Management abilities

My CPHIMS Journey

My CPHIMS Journey
By: Erin Groopman

Well I did it… I took the CPHIMS exam at the 2016 Las Vegas HIMSS conference and it was a very challenging test, but I passed! If you aren’t familiar with this exam it’s for Healthcare IT professionals that have either a baccalaureate or graduate degree plus a certain amount of years in the industry, for more information refer to the CPHIMS candidate handbook. They also have a certification called theCAHIMS where the eligibility requirement is a high school diploma or equivalent. The CAHIMS certification would be great for students newer to the industry who are trying to get a competitive edge over others when seeking employment as well as give credibility to those currently working in the industry.

I’m so relieved it’s over and wanted to provide some insight on how I studied for it. My test was in March and I started studying in December. I gave myself a week by week timeline with study goals to accomplish. Here’s an example:

December – Read review guide and take quizzes in back of book to establish baseline knowledge
Week of Jan 4 & Jan 11 – Create study guide from review guide
Week of Jan 18 & 25 – Review study guide and flashcard study system
Week of Feb 1 – Take practice exam
Week of Feb 8- Study weakness areas from practice exam
Remaining weeks prior to test- Continue reviewing study guide

Resources (most helpful to least):

1. CPHIMS Review Guide 2nd Edition – This was very helpful to understand different concepts and areas that would be covered on the test. I read the content twice, then created a summarized study guide. This probably took me the longest time, but it helped me to interpret the material into my own words. I would take this study guide everywhere, including reading it on the treadmill and at coffee shops. If you read the content outline you will see there is a recall, application and analysis aspect to each section on the test. Essentially even if you memorized this entire study guide, it might only help you in the recall aspect of the test. The application and analysis portion is based on personal experience and using some of the concepts to analyze a situation to help you come to a conclusion. Make sure to review the CPHIMS candidate handbook to help you understand how many questions are covered from each content area to help you study.

2. CPHIMS Self Assessment Exam – This was extremely helpful because it gives you a glimpse of how the questions are written and it assesses what content areas are your strengths and weaknesses. After completing the self-exam you can hone in your studying in those areas of need. This was extremely helpful and I’d recommend taking this at the beginning or halfway through your studying. I would still say to study all chapters and when you look at the number of questions per chapter on the test you will see that leadership and analysis have the highest number of questions. I was also surprised that even though I did good on analysis during the practice test and quiz from the back of the review guide, that was the chapter I struggled with the most on the actual test.

3. CPHIMS Boot Camp – This was an all day class put on by a CPHIMS expert at the Vegas HIMSS conference 2 days before I took the test where we went through each chapter from the review guide. It was a long day packed with a lot of helpful information and powerpoint study guide resources. However to be honest I had read through the review guide so much and this was basically a review of that, plus some more practice questions. This was a very good course for visual learners and the instructor really knew his stuff. The boot camp would have been more helpful to take a month or two out from the test instead of 2 days before, but maybe it did help me to cram in the end.

4. CPHIMS Study Flash Cards – These were purchased off Amazon and were the least helpful resource. The flashcards were more along the lines of vocabulary, but didn’t necessarily line up with the content outline.

Other materials I didn’t purchase, but thought might be helpful if you had time to look them over.
HIMSS Dictionary of Healthcare IT Terms
Any PMP or Lean Six Sigma Resources

Make sure to read the CPHIMS candidate handbook multiple times to understand the content outline along with the testing conditions to prepare yourself. The test itself is 115 multiple choice questions, with 15 of those being practice questions. That means you have about 1 minute to answer each question. That isn’t much time, especially if you have to do some calculations and you will use every second of it! The passing score is a 68% and yes the rumors are true, there will be some accounting questions but honestly not a lot and they are pretty self explanatory. I’d suggest studying up on some generic accounting terms and statements related to budgets. My last suggestion would be to read tips on the best way to take tests, so you don’t get stuck on one question then end up having to guess on the last 10. The nice thing about the electronic version is you can tag questions you need to return to during the test. Also just have confidence in yourself! If you haven’t taken a test like this in a while, it’s ok… breathe, pay attention to time, be prepared and you’ve got this! Good luck!

Resume Tips

6 Things to Immediately Delete Off Your Resume

By: Angie Balman

Goal of a resume: present your professional side to hiring managers and highlight why they should hire you.

Here are 6 things you should immediately remove from your resume.

1) An unprofessional e-mail address:
Still using your rebellious or cute e-mail address from high school? Time to change it! E-mail is often your first correspondence with hiring managers. An unprofessional e-mail at the top of your resume is an immediate turn-off. Also, if currently employed, do NOT use your current company e-mail!
2) Bland/Boring verbs/phrases:
For example, do not start every sentence with, “I was responsible for…” these statements are bland. You should be focusing on your achievements! Try looking up resume verbs to help spice it up a bit.
3) Clichés:
Like bland and boring phrases, clichés are overused and only help water down your resume. Highlight the unique skills and experience you bring to the table. Avoid phrases like “team player,” “hard working,” “dedicated,” “detail-oriented,” “people person,” etc.
4) Experience that is too old or irrelevant to the position you’re applying for:
Experience that is more than 15 years old is unnecessary, as is information not pertinent to the job to which you are applying. These waste space that could be used to highlight your recent and relevant experience!
5) Grammar/Spelling errors:
We are all human and spelling and grammar mistakes easily happen. However, your resume is a professional document, and should be free of these errors. Make sure to check and double check your resume. It may be helpful to have a friend or mentor edit it for you too!
6) “References available upon request:”
Yes, the hiring manager knows. This statement is not useful and is just a waste of a line. Use this space for something impactful.

Note: It is important to remember that less is more on your resume. Remove these things weighing down your resume and allow your accomplishments to truly shine!

Transferable Skills

Transferable Skills
Angie Balman

Starting over in a new career field can be scary, and the prospect of returning to school to learn something new can seem overwhelming. Rest assured, even though you may not have previous experience in the career field you’re looking to enter, you likely have skills that can help you be successful.
If you’re thinking about giving a health care a try, start by identifying skills that would transfer well into this field and thinking about the kind of work you would like to be doing.
Transferable skills Continue reading Transferable Skills

Should I accept?

Should I accept?
BY: Angie Balman

You have just been offered a job! How exciting! Maybe you have been unemployed for an extensive period, or this is the first job you have been offered in a field relative to your studies. Regardless of your situation, it is incredibly important that you pause and take a moment to think over your offer before diving in headfirst.

Things to consider before accepting a new job:

1) Compensation: Not just the salary, the whole picture! How are the benefits? Will they meet your needs? Is there flex time or opportunity to work from home? The job market is still shaky, but it is important to consider your compensation and determine that accepting this position will allow you to support your needs.

2) Environment: Culture values and your fit in an organization are much bigger deals than many realize! For example, if the team you are considering joining values working overtime to accomplish goals and meet deadlines, but you wish for a consistent 40-hour week, the likelihood that you will not be satisfied with the job greatly increases. Sacrificing your happiness and integrity for a job is definitely not worth it.

3) Opportunity: How will accepting this job play into your career path? Will you have the opportunity to utilize and grow your skills? Will there be opportunities to advance within the company? If you are someone who values professional development, you will not want to work a dead-end job. Don’t overlook a job’s potential when deciding on an offer.

Remember, you are never obligated to accept a job offer! So, do yourself a favor and look at the offer from many angles so you are able to make the best decision for yourself!


Phone Interview Tips

Phone Interview Tips

By:  Angie Balman

Many companies employ phone interviews as a way of meeting potential candidates as the first step in their interview process. It is important to be just as prepared for an in-person interview as you are for a phone interview. The phone interview allows for a company to meet new candidates and learn about their strengths (or weaknesses!).

Tips for a successful phone interview:
1) Be prepared
2) Print out the job description, your notes and your resume so you can reference them              easily during your interview
3) Call from a quiet place:

• Ideally, you should have your phone interview at home. Of course, this isn’t always       possible; so if you’re elsewhere, make sure to do your best to find a quiet setting.           Don’t let background noise hamper your chances by potentially distracting you or         your interviewer!

4) Think about your delivery:

• i.e. how do you sound? Phone interviews remove the nonverbal communication            associated with an in-person interview. Make sure you are speaking deliberately and    concise, but also sound enthusiastic.
• PRO-TIP: Smiling while you speak automatically brings energy to your words!

5) Remember to thank them:

• Similar to a face-to-face interview, it is in your best interest to send a “thank you”           after your phone interview. The interviewer took time out of his/her day to speak           with you, so a “thank you” is definitely necessary!

Phone interviews can be your first step in the door to a company you’d like to join. Make sure you are prepared and give the interview your all!

Better Verbs to Put on Your Resume to Replace “Responsible for” and Other Tired Phrases

Better Verbs
By: Angie Balman

Better Verbs to Put on Your Resume to Replace “Responsible for” and Other Tired Phrases

The job market competition is stiffer today than ever before! It is important that your resume stand out. Employers, like movie audiences, respond to action and achievements more than traditional, predictable, and generic phrasing. Consider trading in the mundane phrases that are threatening to sabotage your resume with some action-packed verbs!

Examples of tired phrases:

1) “Responsible for” – Could be interpreted as something you had to do. Instead try describing your achievement in more detail. Try substituting this phrase with words like “created,” “produced,” or “designed.”
2) “Assisted/Helped” – A resume is meant to showcase YOU and your great accomplishments. It is in your best interest to pick verbs that will demonstrate your value instead of selling yourself short. “Advocated,” “negotiated”, and “reviewed” are examples of more suitable verb options than the tired and overused “assisted” or “helped.”
3) “Communicated” – Everyone is communicating constantly! It is important that your resume uses detailed terminology that highlights exactly how and what you have communicated previously. Alternatives include, “documented,” “illustrated,” and “publicized.”

Don’t let boring, tired phrases sink your resume! Revive it with some action verbs today!

New City, New Doctor,New Portal…

New City, New Doctor, New Portal…
By: Erin Groopman

Working in Health IT I’m biased towards wanting my doctor to have a patient portal with all the bells and whistles. I have very high standards and it frustrates me to no end when I have to make all my communication through the telephone, record all the information manually and I don’t have an ongoing electronic paper trail of my labs, notes or prescriptions. Recently I was chatting with my good friend who just moved from the Silicon Valley area to Dallas, she works in Human Resources at JC Penney and we got on the topic of patient portals. She was also frustrated because the first doctor she chose after moving didn’t have a portal. She was in the process of looking for a new doctor, with one of her criteria being that they had a portal .See our interview below:

Being in a new city what made you decide to go with your current doctor? Having had a great experience with Palo Alto Medical Foundation and their fabulous patient portal (and how easy it made everything!), I looked up clinics/hospitals that focused on customer service and then researched patient portals from there. I decided on Baylor because it is known for great patient centered care and used “follow my health” patient portal.

What’s your favorite aspects/features of the patient portal? I like being able to see all my health info in one place and print it if I need to. I also like being able to interact with my doctor and get alerts of possible tests needed.

What advice would you give to someone that has never used a portal with their doctor? I would say to focus on the positive – it makes life easier! You can still connect “the old fashion way”, but this gives you the ability to have easy access and take action when needed. If anything, at least it is an easy way to make appointments.

Being in a new city is hard enough and finding the right doctor for you can sometimes be half the battle. With so many good resources to help you find the right doctor, I’m glad that more patients are taking this decision into their own hands.

EMR vs EHR – What is the difference?

EMR vs EHR- What is the difference?

BY: Angie Balman

EMR – Electronic medical record
EHR – Electronic health record

^Some people believe these are the same thing and use them interchangeably.

This is not the case. EMR’s came before EHR’s and were used by clinicians for diagnosis and treatment and they were indeed “medical” as the name implies. EHR is the term used now (almost exclusively) by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology (ONC).

But why the change? Well, “health” refers to “the condition of being sound in mind, or spirit; especially… freedom from physical disease or pain…the general condition of the body.” The world “health” encompasses more than the word “medical.” Therefore, EHR’s are a better source of information as they go a lot further than EMR’s.

Major differences:

1) Track data over time
2) Easily identify which patients are due for preventive screenings or check-ups
3) Check how patients are doing in regards to certain parameters (e.g. blood pressure, readings, or vaccinations)
4) Monitor and improve overall quality of care within the practice

*Note: While EMR’s are more advantageous than paper records, they don’t easily travel out of the clinicians practice and may have to be printed out and delivered by mail to other specialists. In this regard, they are not much better than paper records.

EHR’s – A better alternative! Fully functioning EHR’s allow all members of a team the ability to readily access the latest information, allowing for more coordinated, patient-centered care.

1) The information gathered by the primary care provider will inform the emergency department clinician of the patient’s life threatening allergies or other pertinent information. This can be incredibly useful as care can be adjusted appropriately, even if the patient is unconscious.

2) Patients are able to log their own records and see the trend of his lab results over the last year. This may help motivate him to be more consistent in taking his medication and keeping up with lifestyle changes suggested to help improve his results.

3) Lab results run prior are already in the record. This provides the specialist with the information she needs without running duplicate tests.

4) Clinician notes from a patients hospital stay can help with discharge instructions and follow-up care as well (enabling a patient from one care setting to another more smoothly is one example)

Health care is a team effort! When information is shared in a secure way, it becomes more powerful. EHR’s promote effective communication of information from one party to another so, ultimately; multiple parties have the ability to engage in the interactive communication of information regarding their patients.

One word, while seemingly small can make a world of difference. Educate yourself!