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WHAT IS HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, AND WHAT WILL I LEARN?

Health Information Technology (Health IT) covers a variety of careers that keep patients’ medical records safe and secure. It is a highly ethical profession that requires you to have technical and social skills to manage electronic health records (EHR) while adhering to the federal privacy law known as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). Health IT specialists work across several different healthcare settings that include hospitals, physician offices, mental health facilities, outpatient clinics and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Health IT specialists are also hired to work in non-medical environments such as consulting firms, government agencies, software companies and insurance companies.

Future Health IT specialists can obtain short-term and long-term certificates, or an associate degree, to learn clinical documentation, medical coding, medical terminology, caregiver workflows, coding, and elements of prospective payment systems. You also learn the legal principles behind patient rights and advocacy issues.

Health Information Technology

STRENGTHS

ANALYTICAL SKILLS

You must understand and follow medical records and diagnoses, and then decide how to code them in a patient’s medical records.

DETAIL-ORIENTED

You must be accurate when recording and coding patient information.

INTEGRITY

Privacy is the core of your job. You have to keep patient data confidential. You do so by having a sense of ethics when working with medical information in order to protect the patient’s privacy.

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS

You need to be able to discuss patient information, discrepancies, and data requirements with professionals such as physicians and finance personnel.

TECHNICAL SKILLS

You must use coding and classification software to assist with electronic health records (EHR) and organization.

What jobs
can I get?

Opportunities abound for students interested in HealthIT! Some of the job titles that you can choose from include medical records/health information technicians, health records managers, medical records auditors, systems analysts, consultants, cancer registrars, chief security and technology officers, chief information officers, and coding specialists.

Health IT specialists often work in medical settings, but they are also hired by consulting firms, hardware companies, software companies, government agencies and insurance companies.

What type of work
do the jobs consist of?

Health IT jobs require workers to manage and organize health data based on classification systems that code and categorize the information. Health IT specialists are then able to use the data for insurance claims and reimbursement. The information can also be used to maintain patient histories for treatment.

Much information is collected digitally through electronic health records (EHR). You will need to know how to navigate the records by properly storing them on classification software or networks that are secure.

Customer service is also important. As a Health IT specialist, you may review patients’ records for timeliness, completeness and accuracy and may need to explain changes to patients and their families.

Maintaining confidentiality is a critical part of a Health IT specialist’s duties. Some records, such as those of cancer patients, may span for several years. Health IT specialists will need to develop digital systems that can compile that information and track treatment and recovery.

What’s the career
growth potential?

Health IT jobs are projected to grow faster than average for health services in general, with a projected growth of 13% from 2016 to 2026. The national average salary in 2017 was $18.83 per hour.1

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Nelson – Department Chair
Phone: 334-347-2623 x2338
Email: jnelson@escc.edu

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1Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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