Why Earn a Health Information Technology Degree

Earning your degree in health information technology will offer you an exciting path into a rapidly growing healthcare-related field. The entire healthcare field in the United States will surge in growth by 19% by 2024, and many of these jobs will be in the administrative and technology management side of healthcare.

Given that the huge American healthcare system is growing so quickly, there is a strong need for administrative and management professionals to manage all of the patient information that all of the patient interactions generates. Health information technicians and managers specialize in the organization and management of vital patient information, medical information storage and creating patient reports.

Professionals with a health information technology degree work closely with computers and electronic health records (EHRs). The federal government has mandated that most healthcare organizations switch to EHRs in the coming years. So you can expect to have more job demand in this growing field.

Health information technology workers can be employed with many healthcare organizations, including hospitals, nursing home, public health centers, home care agencies, doctor offices and more.

Careers in Health Information Technology

Earning a degree in this field is a good decision because you will have plenty of demand for your services in these fields:

Medical Records and Health Information Technician

These workers may be referred to in some environments as health information technicians. They must manage and organize health information data by being sure that it is of high quality, accurate, secure and accessible. This needs to be the case in both electronic and paper systems.

Medical records and health information technicians must be experts in various information classification systems that can categorize and code patient data so that medical providers can be reimbursed by insurance companies.

Health information technicians essentially record and store the health information of patients, such as symptoms, medical history, test and exam results, treatments and other critical information. They will usually work with doctors and nurses to ensure that patient data has been categorized properly.

The increasing use of EHRs will change the job roles of these workers. Technicians today will need to have a good understanding of EHR computer systems and be able to carefully follow EHR privacy and security practices. It also is important for them to be able to analyze electronic data to improve the quality of all types of healthcare information.

The importance of this role in the healthcare system can be seen in the job growth statistics: The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the field will grow by 15% by 2024.

Medical and Health Services Manager

A popular career for those with a bachelor’s or master’s in health information technology is a medical and health services manager. These workers may be referred to in some instances as healthcare administrators. They are in charge of directing, planning and coordinating all medical health services in public health and medical organizations.

Those who work in this health administrative field could be in charge of an entire facility and of all of the patient data that goes in and out of the facility. This is very important today because most people with medical conditions visit more than one health care provider.

You also might be in charge of the department of a healthcare facility, or possibly of a group of doctors. A medical and health services manager must be highly skilled and up to date on all of our changing federal healthcare laws, regulations and technology.

Some medical and health services managers will work exclusively as health information managers. This critical role is responsible for only the maintenance and security of all patient data and records. It is especially important to stay up to date with all of the latest hardware and software that allows for the management of large amounts of data.

This field is also growing fast, with 17% job growth expected by 2024.

Different Types of Health Information Technology Degrees

You can earn one or more of the following degrees in this growing healthcare field:

Bachelor’s Level Degree Options

If you want to get a great start in the health care and information technology field, consider the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management from the University of Illinois – Chicago. This program can be taken primarily online.

After graduation, you are then eligible to earn your Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential which is offered by the American Health Information Management Association.

This program has 63 total credit hours. It consists of courses in medical science, disease classification, coding, management of records, computer systems, health information systems and organization and management.

Required courses are:

  • BHIS 405: Medical Sciences and Human Pathophysiology
  • BHIS 406: Medical Terminology for Health Information Management
  • BHIS 460: Introduction to Health Informatics
  • BHIS 461: Information Systems for Health Information Management
  • BHIS 480: Management and Business Practices
  • HIM 317: Principles of Health Information Management
  • HIM 410: Introduction to the Health Care System
  • HIM 319: Alternative Health Records
  • HIM 320: Technical Affiliation
  • HIM 329: Legal Aspects of Health Information Management
  • HIM 337: Analysis of Health Care Data
  • HIM 432: Coding and Classification Systems

Master’s Level Degree Options

Do you want to position yourself to lead in the technological and data related areas of healthcare? You may want to consider getting your master’s degree in health informations from the University of South Florida.

This degree program is highly preferred by many graduate students because the University of South Florida has a highly regarded program. It also is the home of a top tier medical school. This is the only university in the country that offers a master’s degree in health informatics totally online and also features a medical school.

The advantage of learning from a medical school means that you are getting your education from highly experienced clinical and administrative medical professionals.

This university also is highly ranked as one of the best universities in the US, according to US New and World Report.

This program will teach you the following:

  • How to acquire, store and interpret patient data and other important data of interest to healthcare professionals.
  • Learn how to manage data through relational database systems and the structured query language, also known as SQL.
  • Be able to integrate electronic medical records with high quality patient care; learn how to offer better management and patient care.
  • Learn how to develop and assess tools that are utilized to represent medical data.

Required courses are:

HIM 6118    Introduction to Health Informatics

HIM 6667  Foundations in Management Information Systems

HIM 6114  Integrated Electronic Medical Records

HIM 6930  Health Data Management

HIM 6017  Legal Aspects of Health Info Management

HIM 6018  e-Healthcare Ethics

HIM 6350  e-Medicine Business Models

HIM 6320  Managerial Communications

HIM 6840  Case Studies in Health Information Management

Accreditation

As you are considering a health information technology degree, you are wise to be sure that the program is accredited. With a fully accredited program, you may be confident that you are educating yourself with a highly valuable degree that meets the latest standards in the field.

In health information technology and health informatics, you should look for accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education or CAHIIM.

Summary

A degree in health information technology is certain to put you in position to compete for many highly paid health care management positions. Consider getting this degree if you want to work in healthcare on the administrative and data side, and desire strong job demand and a high salary.