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Degree Overview: Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree in Health Informatics and Information Management

Majors Overview March 9, 2014

Students will be prepared to work as a professional who collects, maintains, and develops electronic health information, or health information technician, when they complete an associate’s degree program in health informatics. The program features studies in medical coding, procedures for protecting patient privacy, and information technology. Graduates will be eligible for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam, which is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

A.S. Programs in Health Informatics and Information Management

Students enrolled in an Associate of Science in Health Informatics and Information Management Degree Program learn to store, secure and transmit medical information through information systems. They become adept at collecting and maintaining electronic records, such as patient records and records pertaining to financial information, diagnoses and medical procedures.

Coursework in an associate’s degree program focuses on rudimentary coursework in health information management and health records, and includes health information laboratories wherein students are imparted practical training in computer software, applications and databases. During the later stages of the program, students are required to participate in an internship and clinical practicum supervised by a health information manager or technician. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma, in addition to an up-to-date immunization record.

Coursework

Coursework is devised to prepare students to act professionally and ethically in the management of financial, medical and personal information, including adherence to laws of patient confidentiality and privacy. Coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Reimbursement
•Classification systems
•Security practices
•Retrieval programming
•Statistical reports

Job and Wage Outlook

In 2012, there were nearly 186,300 individuals employed as medical records and health information technicians in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Most of these professionals were hired by surgical and general medical hospitals (BLS). A faster-than-average job growth rate of 22% has been projected for medical records and health information technicians during the decade from 2012 to 2022 (BLS). In 2012, these professionals took home an average annual wage of $34,160.

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification exam, which graduates of the associate’s degree program are eligible to take. To maintain certification, 20 continuing education units are required to be completed every two years by RHITS. Continued education may also be considered by graduates by earning a bachelor’s degree to boost their career prospects and salary potential. Schools offer various degree options including a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, Health Informatics, and Health Information Management with a focus on health informatics.

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