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Health Information Technology

Program Requirements: 

The healthcare field now consumes 16 percent of the nation’s economic output - the highest proportion ever. This translates into more professional technicians needed to track and record health information. Health information technology is the study of the principles and practices of acquiring, analyzing, and protecting digital and traditional medical information vital to providing quality patient care. The career is right for those who would like to work in health care, but not directly with patients, as well as individuals with an aptitude for science, management, law and computers.

The Health Information Technology associate degree program at Gateway Technical College is a two-year program offered at the Racine Campus and is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Students will learn anatomy, medical terminology, medical coding, legal aspects of health information, health statistics, management theory, quality management and health informatics. Students will also complete a professional practice experience.

What does a health information technician do?

Health information technology is a diverse, evolving field that incorporates medicine, management, finance, information technology, and law into one dynamic career path.
Health information technicians will find job opportunities in any industry that utilizes patient data, including; healthcare facilities, consulting firms, government agencies, insurance companies, healthcare information system vendors and pharmaceutical companies, as well as many other environments.

Many graduates earn jobs such as; health information coder, medical coder, new patient records coordinator or supervisor of health information technicians. Some of the specific duties of these positions might include; compiling and maintaining patient health information, medical information data entry, developing and maintaining a variety of health record indexes and processing patient admission and discharge documents.

Learning by doing

Course work in the Health Information Technology program includes lecture, laboratory and clinical experience. In the laboratory, projects and application of theory supplement classroom lecture material. Clinical work is performed at area health care facilities and provides students with additional hands-on training and a chance to apply the skills they've learned in the classroom, in a real world setting. Clinical work includes on-site experience processing health record information, independent laboratory projects and field trips.
 
Health Information Technology students are encouraged to join the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). This national organization provides students with opportunities to network with professionals in the healthcare information systems field, stay up to date with new developments and obtain continuing education.

Job and salary outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase by 21 percent from 2010 to 2020. The median annual salary of medical records and health information technicians was $32,350 in 2010.

Certification and Licensing

Program graduates will be eligible to take the National Registration Exam for Health Information Technicians. Gateway graduates have consistently scored above the national average on this exam. Graduates who pass the exam may use the credential Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). Certification may open doors to higher earning potential and career advancement.

Additional Requirements

Advisors

Racine
Michelle Nevarez-Larkin
nevarezlarkinm@gtc.edu

Faculty

Racine
Cindy Fickenscher
fickenscherc@gtc.edu

Program Administration

Mike O'Donnell, Dean
odonnellm@gtc.edu

Ja'Tawn Pinson, Associate Dean
pinsonj@gtc.edu

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