Online Health Information Technology Schools: How to Choose

Learn about important considerations when selecting an online health information technology school. Keep reading to get an overview of the program options, degree applicability, and common topics offered for the field of study.

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Read this article to learn more about what to look out for when considering online health information technology schools. You will review some of the different types of programs as well as two schools that offer them.

How to Select an Online Health Information Technology School

Students considering online health information technology schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Health information technology is a discipline for students who wish to pursue a career in medical coding or healthcare statistics. Associate's and bachelor's degrees are both available for students in health information technology. The focus and depth of programs in health information technology vary depending on the degree level. Programs can be found at a number of online for-profit schools, as well as a handful of public colleges.

Award Level & Career Goals

Associate's and bachelor's degrees are the primary options for students who are interested in health information technology. Associate's degree programs are appropriate for those interested in entering the field after two years of study. Such programs focus specifically on advanced technology in the healthcare sector. Bachelor's degrees are often in health informatics, an area that combines information technology with leadership and management classes.

Program Format

Some degrees, particularly those designed for entry-level training, are intended for full-time students, even when presented in online format. These degree programs normally have comparatively strict assignment and test due dates and often require students to attend streamed video lectures or class conferences at particular times of the day. More flexible programs, designed for both entry-level students and for those seeking career advancement, often have only an end date by which all class materials must be submitted. Students should choose a program type that fits their scheduling needs.

Online Degree Options for Health Information Technology

Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology

An associate's degree program in health information technology is designed for students who will pursue a career in healthcare statistics, medical coding or another health information technology area. Commonly required courses include:

  • Medical and pharmaceutical terminology
  • Clinical information coding
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Human diseases
  • Billing and reimbursement

Bachelor of Science in Health Information Technology

Programs go by names such as health informatics and health information management. Many of these programs are designed for students who wish to advance their careers, often by moving into a management position. Similar courses are required as for the associate's program, except for the addition of courses in areas such as management and liberal arts. Students may also receive information technology certifications, depending on the program and institution they choose. Course topics include:

  • Technical and professional communication
  • Health informatics
  • Human resource management
  • Quality management
  • Clinical issues in health information

Schools with Online Programs in Health Information Technology

The Pennsylvania College of Technology at Penn State offers students a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Technology. Although exceptions could be made on an individual basis, the program requires applicants who have valid RHIT certification or graduated from a CAHIIM- or CAAHEP-approved associate degree program in health information. Western Governors University also offers a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management. This program is designed to give professionals the skills involving health information data systems that are needed to become health information managers. Graduates from both of these programs are eligible to sit for the AHIMA's Registered Health Information Administrator examination.

Many students with an interest in information technology and healthcare systems may pursue a number of online associate's or bachelor's programs in health information technology. These programs cover important management, information technology and healthcare skills and knowledge needed to maintain and analyze clinical data.

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