During these difficult economic times with high unemployment, the position of Health Information Technology Specialist offers exceptional opportunities in the number of job openings available, the anticipated growth in the field, and prospects for career advancement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2008 that they anticipated a 20 percent increase in positions for the occupation through 2018. With the new Federal mandates requiring electronic medical records and more detailed health information, those qualified as a Health Information Technology Specialist are anticipated to be in even higher demand.
A Health Information Technology Specialist Does More than Medical Billing and Coding
This position involves assembling, organizing and maintaining medical records, which include the medical history of the patient, symptoms reported by the patient, examinations, the results of diagnostic tests, treatment plans and medical billing and coding records. The advent of electronic medical records, this position now entails have knowledge of the various software programs used in the management and transmittal of electronic medical records as well as electronic security, software development and data analysis.
Within this occupational field, there are those that specialize in medical and billing coding and in tumor registry for cancer patients. A Health Information Technology Specialist salary typically ranges from $29,000 to $40,000 and positions are usually fulltime and are located in hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, and health insurance company offices. A medical coder salary on average ranges from $35,000 to 50,000 per year.
Training and Certification Requirements for Health Information Technology Specialist
Entry-level positions in the field of Health Information Technology Specialist require an associate degree in health information technology and certification, while more advanced positions mandate applicants have either a Bachelor degree or a Master degree in heath information technology. The subjects covered in these degree programs include medical terminology; medical billing and coding; anatomy and physiology; data analysis, health care database management and security; and quality improvement.
The following organizations offer certifications in the various areas of Health Information Technology Specialists: The American Health Information Management Association offers credentialing as a Registered Health Information Technologist (RHIT); American Academy of Professional Coders; Board of Medical Specialty Coding; and Professional Association of Health Care Coding Specialists. Additionally, the National Cancer Registrar’s Association offers the credential of Certified Tumor Registrar.
Given the relatively short length required for training, the competitive salary, and the job opportunities available, a career as Health Information Technology Specialist is perfect for both new graduates and those transitioning from other fields.