Health Information Technology
Associate Applied Science

Curriculum code 1244


The Health Information Technology Program prepares you for a career that places you right where the expanding arena of health care meets the cutting edge of technology. Health information technicians ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems. They may also use computer applications to analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs. Health information technicians often specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research. HITs may serve as cancer registrars, compiling and maintaining data on cancer patients.

Health Information Technology is a two-year associate's degree program that integrates integrates ICD9-CM, ICD-10-CM/PCS, CPT and HCPCS Level II coding systems, computer technology, and health information management.

This program is intended to lead to employment. If you are considering transferring to a four-year college or university to obtain a bachelor's degree using the courses from the program, make an appointment with an academic advisor to review your options.

Criminal Background Checks—In order to comply with certain state statutes and/or clinical affiliation agreements, students will be asked to complete a criminal background check. Application forms for criminal background checks may be obtained through the Career Programs Subdivision Office, B150, and fees paid to the Cashier's Office. For information on criminal background application procedures, please contact the Career Programs Subdivision Office at (708) 974-5708. Deadline dates for completion of criminal background checks will be announced by program coordinators.

Nature of Work—Although most RHITs work in hospitals, you will also find them in a variety of other healthcare settings including office-based physician practices, home health agencies, mental health facilities, and public health agencies. In fact, employment opportunities exist for RHITs in any organization that uses patient data or health information such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, and health product vendors.

Related Programs—Coding Specialist Certificate (31 credit hours); Medical Transcription Certificate (20 hours); Medical Billing Certificate (10 credit hours)

Related Job Titles—Clinical coding specialist, Physician practice manager, Long-term care consultant, Tumor registrar, Trauma registrar, Privacy officer, Compliance officer, Health Information department supervisor, Performance improvement coordinator

Employment Outlook—Health information technicians held about 172,500 jobs in 2008. Most jobs were in hospitals. The rest were mostly in offices of physicians, outpatient care centers, and home health care services. Insurance firms that deal in health matters employ a small number of health information technicians to tabulate and analyze health information.

Job prospects should be very good. Employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase by 20%, much faster than average for all occupations through 2018 because of rapid growth in the number of medical tests, treatments and procedures that will be increasingly scrutinized by health insurance companies, regulators, courts and consumers. New jobs are expected in physician offices as a result of increasing demand for detailed records, especially in large group practices. Rapid growth also is expected in home health care services and outpatient care centers. Additional job openings will result from the need to replace technicians who retire or leave the occupation permanently. For salary information, visit the American Health Information Management Association (www.ahima.org).

Resource: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010-2011.

The median annual wage of medical records and health information technicians was $32,350 in May 2010. the middle 50 percent earned between $24,290 and $39,490. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,240, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $53,430. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of medical records and health information technicians in May 2008 were:
Federal Executive Branch $42,760
General medical and surgical hospitals 32,600
Nursing care facilities 30,660
Outpatient care centers 29,160
Offices of physicians 26,210

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011 www.bls.gov/oco (Health Information Technician).

Credentials—Program graduates are eligible to take the national registration examination given by the American Health Information Management Association. Successful completion of this exam allows the graduate to earn the credential Registered Health Information Technician, RHIT.

For job and internship listings and job search assistance, contact the Job Resource Center in the Student Services Center, S202, (708) 974-5737, www.morainevalley.edu/jrc