Officer's Corner Archive

PARCA eNews to return to bi-monthly distribution

PARCA has been trialing the monthly distribution of our newsletter. The decision to move to a monthly distribution trial was triggered by survey results indicating a preference for monthly, and by the Board’s desire to improve the engagement with our members, and, in addition, the increase in quality worldly PACS related material. During the last month, the PARCA board has re-assessed our trial and our engagement policy and found that whilst the quality of our content has improved, you, the members have been less likely to review the newsletter. As such, the decision has been made to return to newsletters being produced every two months.

With the increase in available news feeds and the quality of reporting on HealthCare informatics I would appeal to all our members to review the PARCA newsletter being produced. The content has been specifically chosen to provide an insight to the current PACS marketplace and also changing trends. In addition each newsletter contains an interview with a prominent member of the worldwide PACS community. This is a free service and unsponsored service for our members.

Medical imaging informatics administration, support and management remains a field of challenges. I would like to acknowledge all who work in this field. Without your hard work the evolution of our field and the health informatics proliferation could not, and would not continue. Congratulations.

Thank you to our members for their continued support for PARCA. We welcome all feedback on how we can improve and what you, our members, need from PARCA into the future.  

Jamie Osland, Vice President, PARCA

PARCA growing to meet the expanding role of PACS administrators 

PARCA's mission is to develop and provide certification for professionals who are engaged with the support, maintenance and day-to-day management of Healthcare Imaging and IT systems such as Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR). 

PARCA's Board of Directors has continued the work to revitalize PARCA, maintain the relevance of certification, and to align with technology to enhance our certification process. With the partnership with Examinity – a leader in online proctoring service – and a psychometric evaluation of the PARCA CPAS Clinical and Technical examinations undertaken in the last year

It is evident that the role of PACS Administrator has evolved, become more sophisticated, and is now an integral role in Healthcare. The evolution of the supported products, the emergence of enterprise and regional solutions, and changes to the products now available mean that the role of PACS Administration has broadened and developed also. 

Project, management, integration, workflow, and technical knowledge are required to lead and enhance an institutional investment in the healthcare informatics solution installed. Accreditation has continued relevance to health informatics practitioners not only in validity the skill sets they have acquired but also to enhance their knowledge and expertise. 

PACS Administration and health informatics support and management continues to be a field of challenges. I would like to acknowledge all who work in this field. Without your hard work the evolution of our field and the health informatics proliferation could not, and would not continue. Congratulations.

Thank you to our members for their continued support for PARCA.   

Jamie Osland, Vice President, PARCA

PARCA wants your views on improving the value of membership

PARCA conducted online surveys of its members on June 2, 2014 using an email with a link directing members to a Survey Monkey survey form. The membership list was divided into two groups: 946 members who regularly open the PARCA eNews, and 898 who either never, or rarely open the newsletter.

As of publication of this newsletter, 36 members have completed one of the two surveys. Links to the raw results are posted on the e-Newsletter website and the PARCA facebook page. Members are encouraged to look at the results, and by all means, take the survey. The survey consists of only 6 questions and takes about 5 minutes to complete. 

In general, respondents were happy with PARCA and appreciate having an alternative certification process to ABII. The free-text comment responses provided many useful and constructive suggestions. Overall, members would like PARCA to increase its visibility and recognition in the industry, and made specific suggestions for how to accomplish this. Other concerns centered on communications issues from PARCA regarding listing members, clarification of continuing education and updating certification. 

In terms of the newsletter, respondents like both the Q&As with PACS leaders (52 percent) and the News Roundup (48 percent) and to a lesser extent appreciate the training calendar. They would like to see more articles/discussions about issues facing PACS/IT administrators with nearly 85 percent checking that box.  Respondents would like to see the newsletter more often with monthly distribution overwhelmingly the preferred frequency (57.7 percent).  Nearly 70 percent of respondents would like to see a PARCA discussion group established on LinkedIn.

The Board is reviewing these suggestions and considering how some of them may be implemented. Stay tuned. 

Charles E. Willis, Ph.D. DABR
President, PARCA Board 

PARCA updates exams, streamlines maintaining certifications

April 15, 2014 – The PACS Administrators Registry and Certification Association (PARCA) announced today that it is updating its certification exams. With the updates in exams, the organization is also streamlining the continuing education requirements for maintaining certification.

The new exam requirements will be posted on the PARCA website by May 1, 2014 and the new exams will go into effect Aug. 1, 2014. To reflect updates, the certifications will now add the update year to the certification. Those certifications will now be CPAS2104, CPSA2014, and CPIA2014. 

The certification exams being updated include CPAS (Certified PACS Associate), CPSA (Certified PACS System Analyst), and CPIA (Certified PACS Interface Analyst). These exams will continue to be updated every three years.  Taking the updated exams every three years will replace previous requirements for members to submit 60 hours of continuing education and to re-take the exam every 5 years to maintain certification.

The organization of professionals who manage image archiving and communications systems for medical centers, hospitals and other health care organizations said the updates address changes in technology that have occurred since 2005 when the exams were first written.

“The concept of lifelong learning is well-recognized in medical and technical professions,” says PARCA Board President Charles Willis, Ph.D., DABR. “To date, reporting of continuing education by PARCA members has been extremely limited. At the same time, the technology that supports healthcare informatics has changed by leaps and bounds. These changes demand that PARCA revises and updates the technical requirements for certification and modify our testing to reflect these new requirements.”

Charles E. Willis, Ph.D. DABR
President, PARCA Board 

Maintenance of Certification

March 2014 – From its origin, PARCA has issued time-limited certifications, although we have never indicated on the documents themselves that the certification would expire at a particular future date. To clarify the duration of certification, the PARCA Board announced in 2011 that re-certification would be necessary five years after the initial award. The Board also announced that 60 continuing education credits would need to be documented during the five-year period and that re-testing would be conducted at the highest level of certification held by the individual.

The concept of lifelong learning is well-recognized in medical and technical professions. To date, reporting of continuing education by PARCA members has been extremely limited. At the same time, the technology that supports healthcare informatics has changed by leaps and bounds. These changes demand that PARCA revises and updates the technical requirements for certification and modify our testing to reflect these new requirements.

We have not yet determined what constitutes a reasonable interval between tests. Technology is changing at a pace that was not anticipated by a five-year cycle. Without participating in continuing education during the interim between tests, studying new technical requirements for a re-certification test may be the only active learning event for a certificate holder. If this is the case, we may need to reduce the testing cycle to 3 years or even 2 years to match the pace of technological change.

The PARCA Board welcomes hearing from PARCA certificate holders about the potential impact of a change in the re-certification interval.

Charles E. Willis, Ph.D. DABR
President, PARCA Board

PARCA vs. ABII: differentiation without competition

Nov. 2013 – There are two organizations who offer certification in healthcare imaging and information technology, namely PARCA® and ABII®. Both organizations recognized the value of technical certification of PACS administrators. Both recognized the need for knowledge and expertise in both clinical and informatics domains. Both established methods for training and testing this content, and for maintaining the knowledge through continuing education. The efforts of both organizations have raised the level of professionalism of the personnel entrusted with operating these critical clinical information systems.

Occasionally, within the social media, each of these organizations has been the target of disparaging comments. The authors of these derogatory postings try to pit one of the organizations against the other, or tout the advantages of one while casting the other in an unfavorable light. A boss of mine once said that the truth is somewhere between all bad and all good: if you’re hearing one or the other, then something is wrong.

In an excellent recent article in the Journal of Digital Imaging (2013, 26:378-382), Ben Babcock and Paul Nagy describe the results of the first 6 administrations of the IIP® exam by the ABII. They report passing rates for 1st time takers at 86.8% and repeat takers at 52.8% for a total of 413 certificate holders. Their overall pass rate is 88.2%. This is an impressive accomplishment!

When I read this, I wondered about the results we’ve seen with PARCA certification exams. It seems that our first-time pass rate is lower for the technical portion of the CPAS exam, or 50%. For the clinical portion of CPAS, the 1st time pass rate is about the same at 78%. Because both portions need to be passed to achieve CPAS certification, a direct comparison is not easily done. Registration for examination with PARCA affords an individual two opportunities for passing, so by the second attempt, 70% have passed the CPAS-IT and 89% have passed the CPAS-CL.

The total number of PARCA CPAS certificate holders is 757 at this writing. Certification at other levels (CPIA, CPSA, and CPEMS) brings the total PARCA certificates issued to 959.

We now post our statistics on the PARCA website. As a board member of PARCA, I would be remiss if I did not remind you of other features about the relationship between PARCA and ABII.

  • PARCA Certification pre-dates ABII certification (2005 vs. 2007).
  • PARCA has harmonized requirements for maintenance of certification with ABII.
  • PARCA extends reciprocity to ABII-certified professionals for CPAS certification, the fundamental level of PARCA certification.
  • PARCA offers advanced levels of certification that are not offered by ABII, namely CPIA, CPSA, and CPEMS.
  • PARCA offers content that is based on the needs of the international community of imaging informatics professionals, not only those in the US.
  • PARCA’s approach to certification is cost-effective and related to the method for certifying information technology professionals, while ABII uses a more expensive method that relates to certification of healthcare professionals.
  • PARCA’s content is more easily modified than ABII’s content, and is more easily accessed by the informatics community. 

The differences between PARCA and ABII in no way mean that one or the other is more or less valid: the different approaches simply address the needs of the community that they both serve. In conclusion, I want to quote the father of the bride in the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”: “So, okay, here tonight we have, uh, apple and orange... we all different, but, in the end, we all fruit.”

Charles E. Willis, Ph.D., DABR, PARCA Board President

Safeguarding Patient Privacy

June 2013 – As PACS professionals and health care providers, we must always be conscious of our responsibility to protect the privacy of our patients. In the United States, our responsibilities are codified in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA. 

Locally, in three separate incidents, the privacy of patients was compromised. In one case, a laptop computer belonging to a medical staff member was stolen. The institution immediately recalled all laptops and encrypted each hard drive. In the second case, a USB flash drive containing patient information from a research study was lost on a public shuttle bus. In order to "set the example," the institution recalled all flash drives from information technology service personnel, complicating how they were able to provide service. In the most egregious incident, administrative personnel at a hospital were deliberately extracting patient information in order to commit identity theft. This case resulted in arrests of the individuals responsible and is now being tried in court. 

The first two incidents reflect the hazards of mobile technology. With the proliferation of tablet computers, smartphones, wireless networks, and applications that work through the "cloud", such as Dropbox, Pandora's Box is already open. 

As professionals, it is incumbent on us to make reasonable efforts to protect patient health information, but not necessarily heroic efforts. Privacy laws are intended to punish the deliberate misuse of patient information, such as the third example. Our goal should be to educate our staff and to utilize information technology to both expedite and safeguard patient data against inadvertent loss. In our passion to protect patients against the deliberate compromise of their private information, we should not unreasonably encumber those who are trying to deliver healthcare. 

The most secure communication is the absence of communication, and that does not serve our patients well. 

Charles E. Willis, Ph.D., DABR, PARCA Board President

Revitalizing PARCA

Oct. 2011 – PARCA's Board of Directors has continued the work to revitalize PARCA. It is evident from the steady growth in PARCA membership and certification awarded (780+) that accreditation has continued relevance to health informatics practitioners.

We have previously announced the harmonization of PARCA's requirements for recertification and continuing education with CIIP. The revitalization process, which is being undertaken as an initiative of the PARCA Board of Directors, is almost complete. As part of this process the examination questions have been independently assessed, reviewed, and will be updated to ensure that PARCA certification remains relevant to their members and to the PACS community.
In the recent press release, the Board has outlined the plan for the introduction of the new top level certification - Certified Healthcare Enterprise Architect, or CHEA. This is an exciting step in our evolution and the Board expects to see growth in PARCA members undertaking the highest certification once available. 

The requirements will be posted for comments by PARCA members shortly. The Board looks forward to helping PARCA continue to be a vital and vigorous organization in the promotion of professionalism in healthcare informatics. We also look forward to feedback from our members about the path we have chosen. 

Jamie Osland, Vice President, PARCA 

No comments: