An Associate of Science in Health Information Technology program prepares students for technology-related positions within a healthcare environment. They may not only learn how to file and code medical records, but also gain knowledge of basic medical terminology and learn how to analyze medical data for administrative purposes. Some programs are designed to prepare students for certification exams, which can help with career advancement. These programs can usually be completed in two years, and some programs offer online courses. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.
Associate of Science in Health Information Technology
Students typically complete general education coursework alongside core courses in industry-specific topics. Most programs combine lecture-based coursework with hands-on training. Many also include an internship. Common course topics include:
- Legal aspects of healthcare
- ICD-9-CM coding and healthcare coding systems
- Human diseases and international classification of diseases
- Data analysis
- Visual basic programming
- Healthcare reimbursement methodologies
Popular Career Options
Professionals who deal with health information technology are responsible for the organization of a diverse amount of patient information, including test results, insurance carriers and medical histories. Popular career titles include:
- Health information technician
- Records technician specialist
- Medical coder
- Coding specialist
- Billing and reimbursement specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Medical records and health information technicians earned a mean annual wage of $40,430 in May 2015, stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The predicted job growth for medical records and health information technicians is 15% for the 2014-2024 period. This faster-than-average job growth is projected to increase with the demand for health services.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Graduates may obtain certification by passing written examinations from certifying agencies, such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The AHIMA offers the credentials of Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) and Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA). Although it's not a requirement, employers may prefer to hire applicants with certifications, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Certification is also available for medical coders through the Professional Association of Healthcare Coding Specialists (PAHCS), the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC) and the Board of Medical Specialty Coding & Compliance (BMSC).
Individuals interested in advancing to health information management positions may do so through certification or through completing bachelor's or master's degree program in health information management. These individuals are responsible for supervising the day-to-day operations of a healthcare facility.
AS in Health Information Technology programs include health-related courses alongside fundamental computer training. That way, when students graduate, they have the healthcare knowledge and technical skills they need for entry-level jobs handling medical information.