Interesting TED talk about big data and the benefits of health information technology.
Category Archives: Health Information Careers
Interesting TED talk about big data and the benefits of health information technology.
A common question when entering the field of health information technology is whether to pursue a certificate program or a Master’s degree. There is not one right decision for everyone, but when making your choice you should be considering the following criteria. What are your future and short term career goals? What is your current and previous work experience, and what is your financial situation?
A recent college graduate with a health information related bachelor’s degree and limited work experience, may find that it makes sense to gain hands on work experience with an entry level job such as a health information technician. However, in order to advance to a manager or director level it will be necessary to earn the Master’s degree. Many times it makes sense to get the Master’s degree knocked out, so that you will be fully prepared for any possible future opportunities. Lastly, pursuing higher education at this early stage of your career may be an opportunity to build lasting relationships with your teachers as well as network with other healthcare IT students.
On the other hand, if you are already a healthcare professional, such as a nurse, with a goal of transitioning into a health IT role, then a certificate may be the best option. The certificate programs cover the core concepts of IT, along with specific coding skills such as ICD-10. Employers are seeking job candidates that have clinical backgrounds, who understand medical work flow and patient care. Many of these employers are more than willing to train candidates on the required IT skills. In addition, certificate programs can be completed in between 6-12 months, and usually cost far less than a Master’s degree.
With the high demand for qualified health IT professionals, someone with an IT background and health related work experience may not even need to earn a certificate or a Master’s degree, depending on the job they want. It is possible to gain on the job experience, working in a technical support role or customer service position for a healthcare organization. This enables them to use their IT skills while gaining a better understanding of the medical workflow process and patient care. In addition, other IT professionals, such as software developer’s can gain experience by helping to design and code open source electronic health record projects.
In conclusion, your decision to pursue a certificate or Master’s degree program is a complex one. It should be based on your career goals, work experience and financial resources. For the majority of younger, less experienced candidates, it is best to complete your Master’s degree as soon as possible. The rationale for this strategy is that most of the higher paying positions require this advanced degree. However, as mentioned earlier, if you are a current healthcare professional, seeking to transition into an IT role, then a certificate program may be adequate. Lastly, if you have a strong background in IT, it is possible to make the switch to health IT with on the job training.
- The US Department of Labor estimates a 49% job growth in health information and health informatics
- Healthcare Informatics was named one of the top careers in U.S. News & World Report
- Approximately 70,000 health informatics specialists are needed in the next decade, according to Don Detmer, the CEO of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
- Health informatics is the #1 emerging industry job opportunity on CareerBuilder.com
Clinical Informatics Coordinator
A Clinical Informatics Coordinator has to plan, implement, and evaluate the information systems that are used within the hospital or health care facility. This career requires an in-depth knowledge of clinical information systems and data retrieval. In addition, this postion usually requires at least four years of experience working in clinical or patient care and medical information experience.
- Plan, implement, and evaluate the information systems that are used within the hospital or health care facility
- Possess an in depth knowledge of clinical information systems and data retrieval
- Facilitate the application of technology through the integration of clinical care and information/computer science
- Evaluate current information systems
- Upgrade or improve existing computer information systems or recommend new systems
Health Informatics Jobs
Other professions in the field of health informatics include:
- Nursing information officer
- Chief information officer
- Medical informatics specialist
- Certified health information specialist
- Informaticist Researcher
- Informatics consultant
- Information systems manager
- Clinical informaticist
- Project manager in health information
- Healthcare administrator
- Medical and health services manager
For more information about health informatics careers please visit The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA)
Every year there is millions of dollars in financial aid from the government that goes untouched by students who would qualify if they had just applied for it. Check with your Schools Financial aid department to see if you qualify for financial aid, you might be able to earn your health information management degree for free 😉
Your eligibility is determined by your financial need which is calculated using this formula:
Financial need = Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution
If you live with your parents and they claim you as dependent, then your need is based on their income.
If you claim yourself as independent on your income taxes, then its more than likely that you are eligible for financial aid.
Visit the Federal Student Aid website, FAFSA ,and fill out an application to see if you qualify for Financial Aid.
Health Information Technology Scholarships
- AHIMA Merit Scholarship
- Health Information Management Scholarships
- Hope Scholarship is a Georgia lottery-funded scholarship for Georgia-resident students who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA
- New Hampshire Charitable Foundation offers scholarships to New Hampshire Residents
- Illinois Hospital Association Scholarship is offered to Illinois residents with a 3.5 or higher
- The Allied Healthcare Scholarship Program awards Cali students with a 2.0 GPA or higher, commit to one year service obligation or 100 to 150 hours of volunteer service practicing direct patient care in a medically underserved area of Cali.
- American Medical Technologists Student Scholarship is available to high school seniors and current college students enrolled in a field of study that will lead to a career in medical technology or related.
- Military Scholarships Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, G.I.Bill money to pay off student loans
Federal Pell Grants
- Does not have to be repaid
- Maximum amount $5,500 per year
- Based on financial standings, undergraduate, Full Time/Part Time student, expected family contribution
Federal supplemental educational opportunity grants
- For students with exceptional need. You can receive from $100-$4000 depending on your circumstances
Federal Work Study
- Provides jobs, hands on experience, minimum wage pay.
Federal Perkins Loan
- Low interest rate %5
- Must be paid in a 10 year period
- Your eligibility depends on your level of financial need.
- You can borrow up to $5,500 for each year for undergrad and $8,000 for each year of grad school.
- The total amount you can borrow for grad and undergrad combined is $60,000. After graduation if you are employed in certain public, military, or teaching service positions you may be eligible to have part or all of your loans canceled.
Parental Loans for Undergrad Students (PLUS)
- Parents with good credit history can borrow money for a child who is dependent. Parents must complete forms and send them to the school.
- A plus loan equals the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid you receive. For example if the cost of tuition is $10,000 and you receive $3,000 in financial aid, your parents can borrow up to $7,000.
After you graduate with your degree you have a grace period of 6-9 months where you don’t have to pay your loans. Afterwards, when you are working, your loan payments are paid monthly and the amount depends on your salary
A resume is a one page summary that introduces you to the employers who will eventually hire you. Employers for health information technology jobs look at resumes to quickly filter out unqualified job candidates. A well written resume reflects your education, work experience, and skills, which can land you an interview, and possibly a job.
When writing your resume make sure you thoroughly assess all of your skills, accomplishments, and strengths. Brainstorm and gather information about yourself by writing down your previous jobs and past accomplishments.
What do I bring to the table?
what are the company’s or employers needs?
What are they looking for?
If you take the time to compose a thoughtful resume, you will surely increase your chances of landing a job.
Elements of a Resume
This is the first thing a potential employer will see and should contain all of your updated contact information including your name, home address, phone number, email address. You may also include your website in this element.
This is where you put the direction of your career and where you see yourself working in the field. Keep it to one or two sentences, short and to the point. You can also insert a keyword here that targets the specific job you are looking for, but it’s not necessary.
If you’re applying for an entry level job with no work experience, the education section is the most important element of your resume. Include any health information technology degree or health information technology certification you have received, your area of study, graduation date, and any honors you have earned. List your most recent school first, and if you have completed college then do not list your high school. You can also list your GPA here if it’s above average.
This is the heart and soul of your resume. You want to carefully examine your former positions, present your transferable skills, and highlight your qualifications. Make sure you include all the necessary information about each of your jobs, including job title, dates of employment, name of employer, city, state, responsibilities, projects you worked one, and accomplishments. Start the list with your most recent job first, then work your way backwards in reverse chronological order.
This section is for listing your involvement in any professional organizations, associations, and memberships. For example, American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) , American Association of Professional Coders (AAPC)
Use this element to list any special skills or talents you may have that pertain to the job you are seeking in addition to specific skills and knowledge of computer applications. Special skills may include fluency in Spanish, Microsoft Excel, and specific health information technology training such as:
- Medical coding
- Knowledge of Health Information management
- Icd-9-dm coding
- Medical records computer applications
- Medical terminology
- Inpatient coding
In you were active in different clubs and organizations as a student then list them in this section. An employer likes someone who has good social skills, leadership qualities, and the ability to work in a group setting. Activities can also include any volunteer positions or community service you may have been involved with.
References are generally not written on the resume itself, but employers want to know that you have references available. All you have to do is include a sentence such as “References Available Upon Request” Make sure to contact your reference’s ahead of time to let them know that employers might be contacting them.
Writing your Resume
When writing your resume its not about using proper grammar, instead use short, concise sentences that demonstrate your initiative. Start each bullet point with an action word or verb that displays one of your strengths.
Organized Administered Implemented Researched
Maintained Billed Managed Recorded
Built Collected Assembled Improved
Make a list of your transferable skills and combine them with action words to form a bullet point sentence. Although in the job interview it’s not enough just to list the skills, you have to demonstrate how you use them, and how they can be transferred to your new role. List specific projects you worked on.
- Business environment skills
- Communication and coordination
- Problem solving
- Basic Patient Care
- Medical specialties
- Project and process flow skills
- Advanced patient care
- Administrative support
- Network administration
Here is a Sample Resume of a Health Information Technology Professional.
Healthcare employers are looking to hire candidates who already have relevant work experience. A great way to gain experience in the health information technology field is to Volunteer at you local doctors office, hospital, or senior center. For more info check out my guest post on Wingofzock.org about How to Recruit, Hire, and Retain HIT Professionals.
During your volunteer period try to Job Shadow someone who works in Health Information Technology. You will see what a day in their life looks like, and can help you decide if it’s the right career path for you.
Your network of friends and family is a great asset for job hunting. Put the word out that you are looking for health information technology jobs. Get involved in groups relating to health IT, connect with other professionals, and and join professional organizations.
Professional Health IT Organizations
- American Association of Professional Coders
- American Health Information Management Association
- National Association Medical Staff Services
- American College of Health Executives
Get connected with people online and join health information related groups on Facebook & Linked In.
- Health Information Technology Careers Facebook Page
- HIT & HIM Education Network
- Healthcare IT and Clinical Informatics Network
Cast a wide net by using several job search methods. Take advantage of all the resources available to you.
- If you are in college, visit the Career Services Center and attend your school’s Job Fairs.
- Check the Help Wanted ads in your local newspaper in addition to Health IT Online Job Boards.
- Find local Employment Agencies, Recruiters, & Temp Agencies.
- Drop off a Resume at your local doctors office and hospital.
Most Entry level health information technology jobs require that you have at least a high school diploma and some professional training or a health information technology certification.
Read this article for more information about Health Information Technology Certification
You want to make a great first impression during your initial interview. First, you may have to go through a screening interview, typically done on the phone, to see if you are qualified. Its a good idea to have your resume on hand so you can highlight your relevant experience, education, and training.
Preparing for the interview
Research the company you are going to interview with. Read through their website, especially the “about us” page, so you know a bit about them, and shows your interest in getting the job.
In general, the interviewer is asking you questions to determine if you are the right person for the job. You want to answer the questions honestly, while highlighting your strengths. Show examples of how you overcame challenges in your previous job, and talk about your passion for health information technology.
At the end of the interview the interviewer might ask if you have any questions. Its a good idea to have some questions prepared. For example:
- What type of career opportunities are available for my level of training and skills?
- What are the biggest challenges of this job?
- How is an employee promoted? Is it company policy to promote from within?
- Describe the typical first year assignments
Always send a follow up email to the interviewer thanking them for their time and expressing interest in the job.
Sometimes people get busy and forget to get back to you, so keep following up to see what’s the status .
The type of health information technology degree or health information technology certification you pursue depends on your desired career path. For more information check out Health IT Degree’s VS Certificate’s .
These eight are the most popular health information technology degrees and certificates:
- Mastery Coding Credentials (CCS, CCS-P)
- 6 Month Certificate Programs
- Associate Degree in Health Information Technology (HIT)
- Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Administration (HIA)
- Advanced Credentials (CHDA/CHPS)
- Masters Degree in Health Information Management (HIM)
- Masters Degree in Health Informatics
Coding Certificate Program (CCA) (CPC)
Earning a Certified Coding Associate certificate can land you an entry level position as a medical coder in one year or less. This is a great way to get into the field without having any previous experience working in health information technology jobs.
A Medical Coder assigns numeric codes to patient records which allows insurance companies to process their claims. In addition, medical coders usually work in the finance department of hospitals or a physicians office entering patients information into a computer database.
The average salary for a medical coder is $36,850 and the job is in high demand. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a need for 50,000 more qualified medical coders by the year 2015.
The only education required to earn your medical coding certificate is a high school diploma. In addition, AHIMA recommends at least 6 months of experience in a healthcare organization applying ICD-9-CM and CPT coding conventions and guidelines before taking the exam.
For more information about coding certificates and requirements please visit:
Mastery Coding Credentials (CCS, CCS-P)
A Certified Coding Specialist is highly skilled in classifying patients medical records and health information. To become eligible for the CCS exam requires at least 2 years of on the job experience in medical coding. The average salary for a Certified Coding Specialist is $56,772
- Review patients medical records and assign numeric codes for every diagnosis and procedure
- Demonstrate an expertise in the ICD-9-CM and CPT coding systems
- Understand medical terminology, disease processes, and pharmacology
Health Information Technology Certification Programs
In 2009 the Obama administration enacted the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) which allocated more than $25 billion to help promote the adoption of health information technology by the US healthcare system. The money from the HITECH Act goes to funding health information technology programs at community colleges, grants, and health information technology training which can provide students with a 6 month certificate.
The programs provide job training for these six role based areas:
- Technical Software Support Staff
- Clinician Consultant
- Practice Workflow and Implementation redesign Specialist
- Implementation Manager
- Implementation Support Specialist
These health information technology certification programs are best suited for someone who is already working in healthcare and wants to learn additional job skills that relate to health information management and the implementation of electronic medical records in hospitals and doctors offices.
Associate’s Health Information Technology Degree (HIT)
This is two year degree which gives you basic health information technology training working with electronic medical records, health information data, and medical billing. You can also earn this health information technology online.
If you want to become a Registered Health information Technician (RHIT) then make sure the health information technology program you choose is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) because those are the regulations given by AHIMA.
There is a great job outlook for a trained health information technician with a predicted increase in demand of 21 percent by 2020. According to Payscale.com the average health information salary for a trained technician is $32,220.
Healthcare Information Administration Bachelor’s Degree
You can earn a four year B.S. Healthcare Administration Degree to begin your career in healthcare information management. Alternatively, you can pursue two year post bachelors healthcare administration certificate that will help advance your career if you’re already working in healthcare IT or want to transition into the field.
One of the most in demand health information technology jobs available with this degree is a health information administrator. This a versatile profession with high demand in hospitals, doctors offices, software development, government agencies, consulting services, education, and pharmaceutical companies.
People working in the profession report to having a high job satisfaction. The health information management salary varies significantly depending on your location, work environment, and experience with a range between $50,000 – $75,000.
Working as an intermediary between health care providers, insurances companies, and patients the HIA:
- Collects, analyses, and manages patients medical records and health information data
- Administers computer information systems, including accuracy of medical records and coding
- Demonstrates expertise in using classification systems and medical terminology
- Knowledgable of legal requirements and security standards relating to the release of patients information to persons and agencies
- Performs administrative tasks such as preparing budgets, managing people and operational units, and recruiting and training staff
- Communicates with all levels of the organization including financial, administrative, clinical, and information systems that use patient data in everyday operations.
Advanced Credentials ( CHDA/CHPS )
A Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) credential is for individuals who want to receive recognition of their expertise in health information data analysis. It validates commitment to the health information field and mastery of the domain.To attain the credential typically requires 4-5 years of work experience in health information technology jobs and a bachelor’s degree, or a RHIA credential and 1 year of work experience. Once you meet these educational requirements you have to take a national exam.
A Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS) credential signifies:
- Expertise in planning, executing, and administering privacy and security protection programs in healthcare organizations.
- Specialized skill set in the privacy and security aspects of health information management
- Demonstrates commitment to the privacy and security field and professional development
To receive the CHPS credential, candidates must have at least 4-5 years of work experience in healthcare privacy and security management and pass a national exam.
Masters in Health Information Management
Health information management is a challenging and rewarding career for people interested in technology, medicine, and management. It usually takes 2 years to earn your Masters degree in Health Information Management (HIM) which can lead to more opportunities for career advancement and a higher salary. You can become a director of Health Information Management and earn an average salary of $80,000. Health information Directors manage a large team of people responsible for on-site client HIM and coding operations.
In addition, the job responsibilities of an HIM director include:
- Review coding performance, implements policies to support revenue cycle, and accomplishes business objectives
- Establish and maintain professional relationships with state and national organizations to understand future health information technology trends
- Demonstrate leadership skills and take initiative to solve problems
- Monitor the accuracy of coding inpatient and outpatient records according to regulations
- Accountable for the performance and improvement of coding department services
Masters in Health Informatics
If you want to advance your career in health information technology and become a Director of Clinical Informatics, Chief Clinical Informatics Officer, or any other health informatics executive position, then you must first earn your Master’s Degree in Health Informatics.
Most master’s degree programs take 2 years to complete with the academic side focusing on a combination of information systems, informatics, and information technology. Individuals who earn a master’s degree in health informatics are in high demand, and will have more opportunities for career advancement available to them.
By earning your masters degree in health informatics and having 4-5 years of work experience in health information, its possible to earn a six figure salary in states such as California, Georgia, and Texas.
If you want to jump start your career in health information technology, working as a health information technician can give you valuable work experience and a better understanding of the health IT field. Then you can choose to move up the career ladder to higher positions.
Health Information Technician
It may come as no surprise that health information technicians work mainly with health information data.
The most common work environments are hospitals, doctor’s office’s, and insurance agencies.
Most HIT’s work full-time, 40 hour work week’s, spending most of there day at a desk working on a computer.
They mainly organize and review medical records, while checking for accuracy and completeness. In addition, they regularly communicate with doctor’s, insurance providers, other healthcare professionals to gather more information about a patients medical records.
- Electronically record health information data
- Review patient’s medical records checking for accuracy and completeness
- Scan patient forms and medical documents
- Classify and code patient information for insurance reimbursement
- Maintain and organize health information database and registries
Education & Training
There are multiple ways to pursue a career as a health information technician.
- Associate degree in Medical Technology or Health Information Management
- Bachelor’s degree in Health information technology
- Bachelors degree in Computer Science
- Certificate program in Medical technology
If you’re still in high school its a good idea to prepare by taking course in health, math, and computer science to increase your chances of admission into a college health information technology program. Furthermore, If you plan on pursuing a career as a health information manager or another higher paying position in the future, then you will need at least a bachelors degree to qualify.
There are several ways to become certified as a medical coder once you complete your HIT program. For more information about health information technology certification please visit the links below:
If you want to pursue a career as a Registered Health information technician (RHIT) then make sure the health information technology schools and programs you are looking at are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM. Your program has to be approved in order for you to become eligible to obtain the RHIT certificate. It is also possible to earn your health information technology degree online as long as the school is approved. Furthermore, to obtain the RHIT certificate you must pass an exam given by AHIMA that will be testing your knowledge of health data management, health statistics, information technology and systems, biomedical research, quality management, and health services organization.
Due to the aging population of the baby boomers there is going to be increased demand for all health care professionals. According to the US bureau of labor, employment of health information technicians is predicted to increase by 21 percent by 2020. In addition, as more healthcare providers continue to adopt health information technology, there will be more demand for health information technicians.
For More Information about Health information technicians Salary