Most people think in order to work as healthcare professional you have to directly work with patients. As a health information technician, your job is to work with patients’ health information and not the patients themselves.
Health information technology (HIT) is an important aspect in managing health information. Hospitals, labs, X-ray facilities and many other healthcare professionals depend on computers and other electronic devices to store and access patient’s health information.
What is Health Information Technology?
Health Information Technology (HIT) reduces paper work by eliminating the need for handwritten medical records. It also reduces the chances of medical errors, because when transmitting information electronically it corrects mistakes and eliminates the misreading of doctor’s handwriting. By decreasing medical errors and providing accurate and time sensitive health information, HIT most definitely is needed in all healthcare settings. Also by eliminating storage space issues for medical charts and records it actually reduces costs that many health care facilities incur.
What does a Health Information Technician Do?
As a HIT tech, you’ll be responsible for patients’ health information, making sure that each patient’s chart is complete, checking that all forms are analyzed and confirmed, and then entering all of the information into healthcare facilities’ computer. Health information techs also work with health statistics. At some facilities (usually larger ones), HIT techs might supervise health information clerks and transcriptionist.
What schooling is needed for HIT techs?
A 2 year associate’s degree is needed to become an HIT tech. Anatomy, Coding and Abstraction of Data, Computer Science, Database Management, Health Data Standards, Legal Aspects of Health Information, Medical Terminology, Quality Improvement Methods, Healthcare Statistics & Data, Systems of Coding & Classification, Anatomy & Physiology, Pharmacology, Medical Billing Processes, and Health Data Structure & Content to name a few, are the required courses. Graduates of the HIT program can qualify to take the Registered Health Information Technician exam, which will consists of a written exam provided by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). You are only eligible to take this exam if you have an associate’s degree from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).
What is the average salary of a Health Information Technicians?
Health Information Technicians with less than a year’s experience can expect to make around $46,000 annually (according to Payscale website). Those with 1-9 years of experience typically make an annual salary of $70,000, 10-20 years $86,000. Last but not least, HIT techs that have 20+ years’ experience can a whopping $95,000 annually. Regardless of the amount of experience those who work for the federal government have some of the highest salaries with a reported annual salary of $79,500.
If you’re interested in computer technology, well then as you can see by their salary, a Health Information Technicians is a very, very wise career choice. If you decide later you want to further your education, you can get your bachelors, masters, all the way up to a Ph.D. in Health Information Technology. The sky is the limit for this well paid career!