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Health Information Technology

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Health information technicians (HITs) are medical technicians who maintain the medical information system of a healthcare facility. They collect, analyze and integrate medical data related to research, planning, provision and evaluation of health care services. This paper will profile the Health Information Technician career.

Health Information Technicians

Nature of the work

HITs assemble patients’ health information including the examination results, treatment methods, medical history, symptoms and any health care provider services. The HITs organize and manage any health information data while ensuring that the information is accurate, accessible, quality and secure. They communicate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to ensure that the information they have is accurate (Health Information Careers).

The use of electronic health records (EHR) has continued to broaden and alter the scope of HIT responsibilities as now they can maintain EHR security, analyze electronic data and be familiar with the electronic data. HITs use the EHR software to help to maintain patient’s data, disease patterns, outcome of treatment and disease treatment (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Work environment

HITs work in hospitals, surgery centers, insurance companies, dental offices, government agencies, consulting firms, long-term care centers, coding and billing services, and home healthcare agencies. They work about 40 hours a week and can work any time of the day. Some technicians can decide to work part-time.

Studies

HITs usually have an associate degree. Individuals interested in a career as HITs should study terminology, data analysis, healthcare reimbursement methods, anatomy and physiology, clinical classification and coding systems and quality improvement methods. In college, individuals interested in medical coding should possess the equivalent of a high school diploma. Training can be done while working or as a continuing education class which is offered by state organizations. 

Employers prefer hiring credentialed medical coding specialists. AHIMA offers credentialing as a RHIT which is obtained after a 2-year associate degree accredited by (CAHIM) and passing of AHIMA examinations (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Career advancement for HITs is done by either obtaining a bachelor’s or a master’s degree who can advance to become health information manager. HITs can also seek an advanced specialty certification which is an experience based with more formal training (Health Information Careers).

Employment and job outlook

Data shows that HITs held about 172,500 jobs in 2008 and about 40% of them worked in the hospitals. HITs have an outstanding future as there is an increased scrutiny of medical records by the insurance industry and the federal government. There is an increased use of technology changes which call for the increased HIT specialists and it shows that job prospects are good and the employment is expected to grow much faster especially as technology advancements continue. A 20% employment is expected through 2018. Increased use of the health records means that more HIT technicians will be needed besides the new openings resulting from the HIT retirees or those leaving the occupation for the other disciplines (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).  

Earnings

In May 2008, the median annual wage for the HIT technicians was $30,610. As of 2010, the mean annual wage was $35,010 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Self assessment

I am a 35 year old single mother of a 9 year old boy who has been in the medical field as a medical assistant for 15 year now. I do not like regular interactions with the patients, and I consider myself a behind the scenes person hence the reason why I chose to major in HIT. This is my first semester in this major and I have been in and out of college for the last 6 years now and was almost being registered as a nurse but decided to go for the health information technology instead. I hope to have a successful year in my studies.  

Index

AHIMA- American Health Information Management Association

RHIT- Registered Health Information Technician

 

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