By DeVry University
Like so many other industries, technology is making its mark in the healthcare world. With advances in health information technology and requirements around patient record keeping and privacy, qualified professionals are essential to maintaining, analyzing and organizing the massive amounts of data being recorded daily in the healthcare system.
As the population ages, health information technology jobs are expected to grow 8% on a national level over the next ten years1. This is much faster than the average for other industries. Depending on your education, work experience and other factors, you may also qualify for opportunities to progress into more advanced positions.
Interested in seeing if a career in health information technology might be a good fit for you? Read on to learn more.
What is Health Information Technology?
Health information technology is the software used to store, share, secure and analyze patient health information. There are many different systems available and trained professionals are in charge of coding information correctly, analyzing data and maintaining security and privacy of records.
Some clinics or hospitals may require health information technology professionals to be familiar with multiple software platforms, while others may prefer for you to specialize in one. The healthcare industry relies on data from many different sources and the more efficiently that data can flow between platforms, the better the outcome for patients. Having a background in computers can often be a big asset in this field.
Health information technology can include personal and electronic health records, prescription software and programs designed to help patients meet their health goals. With these technological advances, doctors and patients are able to share information more seamlessly than ever before. While this sharing of information has resulted in many positive patient outcomes, maintaining the integrity of the data and patient privacy is one of the most important aspects of health information technology jobs.
Advances in health information technology can deliver benefits to the healthcare community and the patients they serve including:
- Reduced medical costs associated with prescription drugs and medical procedures
- Advances in targeted, personal healthcare protocols
- Improved communication between healthcare specialists and patients
- Improved patient health outcomes
- Faster diagnosis
- Reduced medical errors
- Improved imaging
- More accurate medical trend predictions
- Better doctor and specialist mobility
What Health Information Technology Jobs are Available?
There are a variety of job titles in the health information technology sector depending on experience and education. Here are some common roles:
- Medical Biller
- Medical Coding Specialist
- Medical Records and Health Information Technician
- Medical Records Analyst
- Medical Records Supervisor
- Compliance Auditor
- Health Informatics Specialist
- Health Records Equipment Software Sales
- Healthcare Data Analyst
- Management Consultant
- Patient Account Specialist
- Systems Analyst
What is the role of a Health Information Technology Professional?
Health information technology professionals perform a variety of responsibilities depending on their role. At a high level, duties could include:
- Building, implementing and maintaining electronic health record systems.
- Health information management such as ensuring the quality of patient data.
- Analyzing patient and organizational data through data analytics.
- Interacting with clinicians to ensure accurate workflows of data.
- Train nurses, doctors and other medical professionals on accurate and effective data entry, retrieval and analysis.
- Cross-collaboration across departments to solve problems in record keeping and reporting.
Who do Health Information Technology Professionals Work With?
Health information technology professionals often work with medical staff in clinics, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, outpatient facilities and many other medical related facilities. However, there are many roles in this industry that do not work with the medical community directly. Some examples are insurance and consulting groups, government agencies, various software companies and research firms.
Depending on the size of the organization, the health information technology professional could be part of a small team or collaborate across departments with large teams and even report to external agencies.
Where is the Health Information Technology Industry Headed?
Regulations for electronic health records are constantly changing and require strict compliance procedures. As technology systems advance and become more integral in everyday healthcare, health information technology professionals will likely be important to ensure proper guidelines are being followed, as well as streamline everyday administrative protocols.
This field can be a great way to pursue exciting career opportunities in the health industry without being in a hands-on clinical role.
How Can I Get Started in Health Information Technology?
DeVry University offers an online Associate degree program in Health Information Technology that can help equip you for a future in this field. Our program is CAHIIM-accredited and is designed to prepare students for the American Health Information Management Association’s Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) Certification Exam. Qualifying credits can also be applied towards a future Bachelor's Degree in Business with a Health Information Management Specialization2, saving you time and money should you choose to continue your education.
Depending on your career goals, lifelong learning can be beneficial. Health information technology consultants, for example, typically assist healthcare organizations in selecting the best technologies to meet their goals, train them how to implement these systems and provide ongoing support. In a career path like this, you might consider building your skills in business, project management and communication.
1https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm. Local growth will vary by location.
2When you complete the Associate in Health Information Technology, all but one course stacks into our Bachelor’s in Technical Management with a specialization in Health Information Management.