What You Will Learn in a Health Information Technology Degree Program
Health information technology (IT) degree programs are designed to equip students with the skills and education necessary to successfully manage the essential health care data stored in computer databases and networks at hospitals and other health care facilities. Students take courses in basic medical terminology, health information systems, disease classification and coding, legal & ethical issues in health informatics, and computer science. Health IT students are also introduced to the world of health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and other health care reimbursement systems. Depending on the program, you may focus on medical coding, in which a greater emphasis will be placed on learning the International Classification of Diseases to effectively code diagnoses and procedures. Other programs emphasize providing tech support to hospitals.
What You Can Do with a Health Information Technology Degree
A degree in health information technology opens the door to a variety of behind-the-scenes professional careers in health care, including: medical billers & coders, medical records technicians, health care information managers and medical secretaries. Individuals who hold degrees in this area also have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, doctor’s offices, ambulatory clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and home health care agencies, giving them more options as to where to put their talents to good use. Your daily responsibilities and duties as a health information technician might include examining medical charts for completion and accuracy, scanning hard copy medical data into a medical computer system, or medical record data entry.
Why a Health Information Technology Degree Is in Demand
Health information technology degrees are popular because dedicated students will not need to complete as much school as they would with other degree programs. Many times, all that is required to get entry-level health information technician positions is an associate degree. Health information technology is also popular with students who want in on the in-demand jobs in the health care industry, but do not necessarily wish to work with patients as practitioners. Another reason students are pouring in to these degree programs is that long-term job prospects are expected to be excellent. In fact, jobs for medical records and health information technicians are projected to grow by a whopping 20 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.