Health Information Technology

What Health Information Technicians Do

Medical records and health information technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, organize and manage health information data. They ensure its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories.

Duties

Health information technicians typically do the following:

  • Review patient records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
  • Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
  • Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
  • Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis
  • Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
  • Protect patients’ health information for confidentiality, authorized access for treatment, and data security

All health information technicians document patients’ health information, including their medical history, symptoms, examination and test results, treatments, and other information about healthcare services that are provided to patients. Their duties vary with the size of the facility in which they work.

Although health information technicians do not provide direct patient care, they work regularly with registered nurses and other healthcare professionals. They meet with these workers to clarify diagnoses or to get additional information to make sure that records are complete and accurate.

The increasing use of electronic health records (EHRs) will continue to change the job responsibilities of health information technicians. Federal legislation provides incentives for physicians’ offices and hospitals to implement EHR systems into their practice. This will lead to continued adoption of this software in these facilities. Technicians will need to be familiar with, or be able to learn, EHR computer software, follow EHR security and privacy practices, and analyze electronic data to improve healthcare information as more healthcare providers and hospitals adopt EHR systems.

Pay*

The median annual wage for health information technicians was $34,160 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,250, and the top 10 percent earned more than $56,200.

Most health information technicians work full time. In healthcare facilities that are always open, such as hospitals, technicians may work evening or overnight shifts.

*According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

About Our Program

The Health Information Technology curriculum provides individuals with the knowledge and skills to process, analyze, abstract, compile, maintain, manage, and report health information.

Students will supervise departmental functions; classify, code and index diagnoses and procedures; coordinate information for cost control, quality management, statistics, marketing, and planning; monitor governmental and non-governmental standards; facilitate research; and design system controls to monitor patient information security.

Graduates of this program may be eligible to write the national certification examination to become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) once PRCC receives Accreditation from CAHIIM. Employment opportunities include hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, health insurance organizations, outpatient clinics, physician's offices, hospice, and mental health facilities.

Useful Links

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