Paper debunks SIIM certification myths

April 23, 2008

So many myths have grown up around the Certified Imaging Informatics Professional process established last year by the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine that one paper has already appeared debunking the most flagrant.

So many myths have grown up around the Certified Imaging Informatics Professional process established last year by the Society for Imaging Informatics in Medicine that one paper has already appeared debunking the most flagrant.

"Although the majority of information heard about the CIIP process is accurate, a number of myths have arisen in recent web posts and media coverage," said Dr. Curtis Langlotz, vice chair for informatics and medical director of information services at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Langlotz, SIMM chair when the CIIP proposal was established, exposed the top 10 myths in a January article (J Digit Imaging 2008;21(1):1-2. Epub Jan. 23).

The myth Langlotz wishes most to dispel is that the CIIP program is not a comprehensive assessment of skills and knowledge.

"The CIIP test content outline was developed from a comprehensive survey of actual job requirements of working imaging informatics professionals, so the CIIP program does represent a comprehensive assessment from a trusted source," he said.

The second most inaccurate myth is that the CIIP program was developed for financial reasons, Langlotz said.

"SIIM is a financially healthy organization and has developed the CIIP program in conjunction with the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists as a benefit to the members and supporters of SIIM," he said.

Dozens of volunteers from SIIM and ARRT were enlisted to develop policies, write exam questions, and establish the American Board of Imaging Informatics itself. The ABII is an independent nonprofit organization with no financial ties to SIIM or ARRT, Langlotz said.

The CIIP process is meant to instill a sense of confidence and professionalism among informatics professionals by encouraging lifelong learning, according to Langlotz.

"These professionals come from diverse backgrounds, including clinical, technical, and eclectic," he said.

As a result, they often have a patchwork of skills and knowledge acquired through on-the-job training, formal education, or both. The certification process provides a trusted benchmark useful to the increasing number of organizations looking to hire imaging informatics professionals, Langlotz said.

Another myth he dismissed was that it is challenging to qualify for the CIIP exam.

Instead, the eligibility criteria for the exam were developed after an open and participatory process, including a public comment phase, to accommodate the varied career paths of imaging informatics professionals, Langlotz said.

"A balance was struck between clinical and technical backgrounds, as well as between experience, formal education, and credentials, which makes qualifying fair and straightforward," he said.

Final eligibility requirements are available on the ABII website.