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Medical Billing and Coding vs. Health Information Technology

By DeVry University

September 30, 2022

4 min read

So, you’ve decided you want to pursue a career in the healthcare industry, but you haven’t decided whether medical billing and coding or health information technology is the right field for you. In a circumstance like this, it’s helpful to line the two fields up in a side-by-side comparison to see what each career path focuses on, and how each might suit your personal goals and career aspirations.
In this article, we’ll help you get a better sense of medical billing and coding vs. health information technology, so you can think about which career path might be right for you:

What is Medical Billing and Coding?

Medical billing and coding is the process of compiling information about clinical procedures and services in a patient’s records. These procedures are then billed to the patient themselves or to their insurance provider.

Medical billers and coders are trained to use different medical coding classifications systems such as Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) or ICD-11. The codes are used to collect information regarding an individual patient’s medical history but can also be used to keep track of how often a care facility performs a particular procedure or service.

Using this data, care facilities can then allocate resources where they are most needed. The information can also be passed on to organizations like the CDC and the WHO to help those agencies better understand the current picture of global health.

What is Health Information Technology?

Health information technology is an administrative and technical field within healthcare. Professionals in this role typically deal with medical technology, maintaining computer-based systems that facilitate the secure and efficient flow of information between parties in the healthcare field and understanding how different components interact with care providers. It’s sometimes easier to think of health information technology as the IT backbone of healthcare.

In some ways, health information technology is like medical billing and coding in that both are about acquiring data and transferring information from one party to another, but health information technology is much more focused on the physical networks that transmit this information and the maintenance and accuracy of patient records, while medical billing and coding deals with the information itself.

Medical Billing and Coding vs. Health Information Technology ­— Which is Better?

That all depends on your goals and interests. Neither medical billing and coding nor health information technology is inherently better than the other; however, there are a variety of factors that might make one a better choice for your potential career path.

For example, if you’re more interested in supporting healthcare professionals or patients, or organizing medical data between parties, then you might be more suited to a role in medical billing and coding. This field requires attention to detail and a high level of accuracy when it comes to the inputting and sharing of data, as well as knowing the ins and outs of various insurance policy processes.

If you find yourself more interested in the application of medical technology and the implementation and maintenance of electronic health records (EHR), then health information technology may be a better fit. You also need an understanding of medical regulations and privacy laws and requirements, and you must be able to check patient records for accuracy and completeness. 

What Programs are Available for Medical Billing and Coding vs. Health Information Technology?

There are many different options available for both medical billing and coding and health information technology programs at many different schools. When choosing the program for you, take time to evaluate different schools' curriculums and see what skillsets they focus on, if they offer any online study options or if they have any hands-on experience they incorporate into the coursework.

At DeVry, we offer an Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding and an Associate Degree in Health Information Technology, both of which are built to give you an opportunity to develop many of the foundational skills that can help you pursue a career in either health information technology or medical billing and coding, and have respective certification exam prep built right into the coursework. Both of these programs can be completed 100% online and offer hands-on learning to help you get acquainted with the tools and technology being used in the healthcare field today so you can hit the ground running when it’s time to enter the workforce.

Also, when you earn an Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding at DeVry, almost all the courses you complete in the program will apply toward your Associate Degree in Health Information Technology, should you decide to continue your education with us1.

Explore Healthcare Programs at DeVry

Ready to learn more about medical billing and coding and health information technology at DeVry? Our knowledgeable faculty is experienced in the healthcare field, so you’ll be in good hands while pursuing your education with us. Both of our Undergraduate Certificate in Medical Billing and Coding and Associate Degree in Health Information Technology programs can also be earned online, making it easier for you to balance school, work or whatever else you need. Classes start every 8 weeks.

1For the Medical Billing and Coding certificate program, all but one course stacks into our Associate Degree in Health Information Technology. Program availability varies by location. At the time of application to the next credential level, an evaluation of qualifying transfer credits will occur and the most beneficial outcome will be applied.

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