HL7 FHIR proficiency certification preparation for clinicians (and non-clinicians)

  • a structured approach
  • an open mind to learning new (and at times difficult) things
  • adequate preparation time and investment of resource
  • This exam is no different than many other technical exams where a passing mark of >70% is required. While this might appear difficult at first, this is less than HL7 CDA exam pass mark of >90%.
  • Pass rates are not made readily available, but likely that with exams of this nature that there is a reasonable-to-high attrition rate.
  • The exam is based upon the official FHIR standard that is published online at https://www.hl7.org/fhir/
  • Please keep in mind that the version may change soon, but for the moment is R4 (release 4).
  1. Firstly, carefully review the provided exam information material. This will give an idea of the exam breakdown, and areas where to focus your study. This could assist the weighting of where to direct your attention, but a thorough knowledge of the standard will increase the probability of passing.
  2. Secondly, timing is critical for the exam, and it is likely that for many question types, that careful consideration of each part is given. A combination of preparation, precision (and possibly luck) will likely yield a successful outcome. Having a clear mind on the exam day will ensure that you can comprehend the material in the best way. Due to the nature of questions, it will feel that the number of questions is more, and the amount of reading for many questions will test your ability to manage cognitive load.
  3. Finally, there are options to sit the exam at home (via online proctoring) or to sit at a testing centre (subject to COVID-19 restrictions of course). I prefer to choose to sit at home due to the time spent travelling to testing centres.
  • Congratulations! You’ve managed to clear the certification exam. I’d suggest you celebrate and share your achievements with your wider networks.
  • With the benefit of hindsight, our pure IT brethren are more accustomed to sitting many of these types of exams. Exams of this nature are deliberately hard to ensure that the requisite level of knowledge is reached. The chance of failure may be off-putting to pursue this certification, as it may lie outside a clinicians immediate area of interest. I had to do this exam more than once and I can say that diligence and persistence can get you through. It takes heart to keep going until you succeed. One helpful description (that also nicely aligns with cognitive re-framing) is the acronym FAIL (First Attempt In Learning). As such, don’t be put off by your first-attempt-in- learning if this occurs, and don’t hesitate from engaging in further learning before trying again. I’m sure that you’ll get there.



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Derek Buchanan

Derek Buchanan


Derek has a strong interest in technology. He believes in system improvements & innovation.