Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) Minimize

Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS)

The Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS) exam is based on the AHDI Medical Transcriptionist Job Descriptions and the competencies outlined in the AHDI Core Competencies and the AHDI Model Curriculum. It is a voluntary credentialing exam for individuals who wish to become Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialists. The CHDS exam is designed to assess competency in healthcare documentation by determining if a candidate has the core knowledge and skills needed to practice healthcare documentation effectively in a multispecialty acute care facility, where variable specialties, document types, and difficulty of dictation necessitate an advanced level of clinical knowledge and interpretive ability.

Who should take this exam?

  • Registered Healthcare Documentation Specialists (RHDSs) with a minimum of 2 years’ experience in acute-care transcription or multispecialty equivalent.

CHDS candidates who do not already possess an RHDS credential can take the RHDS alone or opt for the Credential Qualifying Exam (CQE). AHDI recommends that candidates possess the knowledge and skills identified as Level 2 in AHDI’s Medical Transcriptionist Job Descriptions and outlined in the CHDS Exam Blue Print before attempting to take the exam. Potential candidates for the exam are advised to review the outlines and assess their knowledge and skills to determine their readiness for the exam.

Students, new graduates, and specialty MTs/healthcare documentation specialists are strongly discouraged from taking the CHDS exam unless or until the candidate has acquired the acute care experience or exposure necessary to demonstrate competency in the domains evaluated on this exam. MTs/healthcare documentation specialists eligible to take the CHDS examination that have not earned an RHDS credential are required to demonstrate competency at the RHDS Level 1 prior to being eligible to sit for the Level 2 CHDS exam. CHDS candidates may choose to take the RHDS exam first and come back at a later time to take the CHDS exam or those candidates may opt to take the combined Level 1/Level 2 Credential Qualifying Exam (CQE).

Individuals who successfully complete this AHDI credentialing process are recognized as Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialists and are entitled to use the CHDS designation. The credential is valid for 3 years. CHDSs are currently required to recertify by earning a minimum of 30 continuing education credits through applicable professional development activities over their 3-year cycle. Upon passing the initial exam, each CHDS receives a wall certificate that shows the date through which the credential is valid (renewal date). CHDSs also may purchase a CHDS lapel pin.

The 120-question CHDS exam consists of multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blank transcription against audio, and SRT editing against audio. These assessment types are used to test candidate knowledge, applied interpretive judgment, and advanced editing skills in both knowledge domains represented on the CHDS Exam Blue Print, including: Clinical Medicine and Health Information Technology.

The transcription performance portion of the exam consists of short items employing medical dictation and/or transcription that must be transcribed, proofread, and/or edited. It consists of dictation that is realistic and representative of that encountered under actual working conditions. Dictation is selected for its appropriate medical content. The practical portion of the exam is designed to test a candidate’s knowledge, skill, and ability to practice healthcare documentation effectively in today’s healthcare environment. Emphasis in the practical portion of the exam is more on critical thinking skills rather than keyboarding, research, or other technical skills.

Interested CHDS candidates should download the Credentialing Candidate Guide, which contains all of the following information:

  • Eligibility and Requirements
  • Content Focus
  • CHDS Exam Blue Print
  • CHDS Sample Questions
  • CHDS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In addition, the Candidate Guide provides detailed information about exam registration, online proctoring, onsite testing, exam preparation, and requirements for credential maintenance and recredentialing.

Need assistance with exam preparation? Find resources here → Exam Preparation

Ready to take the exam? Seek eligibility here → Sign Up for an Exam

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