Health Information Technology
HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
Nature of Occupation: Health Information Technicians organize, prepare and maintain medical records on patients. Health information technicians’ duties vary with the size of the facility. In large to medium-sized facilities, technicians may specialize in one aspect of health information (such as release of information or coding), or supervise health information clerks and transcriptionists. In smaller facilities the health information technician may manage the health information department and be responsible for completing all functions. This is one of the few health occupations in which there is little or no direct contact with patients.
Working Conditions: Health information technicians usually work a 40-hour week. Some overtime may be required. In hospitals—where health information departments often are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—technicians may work day, evening, and night shifts. Health information technicians work in pleasant and comfortable offices. Because accuracy is essential in their jobs, technicians must pay close attention to detail. Technicians who work at computer monitors for prolonged periods must guard against eyestrain and muscle pain.
- Reviewing medical records for completeness, accuracy and compliance with requirements
- Contacting medical personnel to obtain missing data on medical records
- Coding and indexing records (diagnoses, diseases, operations and treatment) for reimbursement purposes
- Compiling medical care and census data from statistical reports
- Preparing reports on admissions, births, deaths, transfers and charges
- Releasing information to persons and agencies according to regulations
Employment and Outlook: Constantly evolving regulations and technologies allow for lifelong learning and continued professional development. As healthcare advances, health information provides the patient data needed to successfully navigate the changes. As a result, health information professionals can expect to be in high demand as the health sector continues to expand. Demand is on the rise at all levels of education and credentialing. There are approximately 12,000 to 50,000 new jobs anticipated by 2017, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites medical records and health information technicians as one of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the US. Medical records and health information technicians held about 186,000 jobs in 2012. On top of strong job prospects, competitive salaries also await graduates. Salaries start around $30,000-$35,000. Salaries vary depending on your credentials, particular job, and the geographical location. Most employers prefer to hire credentialed professionals (RHIT or RHIA). For example the Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT), an individual must pass a written examination offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). To take the examination, a person must graduate from a 2-year associate degree program accredited by The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). The Tyler Junior College Health Information Technology program is accredited by CAHIIM.
Interests and Abilities:
- Work cooperatively and effectively with others
- Use logic to analyze problems
- Follow detailed instructions
- Work quickly and accurately under pressure
- Read well and communicate effectively
- Performing definite, organized work
Career ladder for this occupation may look like this:
- Health Information Administrator
- Health Information Technician
- Health Information Clerk
Many Associates Degree graduates pursue the avenue of coding.
Advancement usually comes with taking on greater responsibility within the job. If the technician gets more education, it is possible to become a health information administrator.
FOR MORE CAREER INFORMATION GO TO http://www.ahima.org/careers/healthinfo?tabid=why and http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm