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Overview of Health Information Technology Associate Degree Program

Majors Overview February 17, 2014

Those interested in being prepared for health information technician certifications and careers should look into an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program in health information, also known as health information technology. Professionals of this field are seen in clerical settings in healthcare facilities and can be responsible for the organization and storage of medical records, such as medical histories and test results.

A.A. Programs in Health Information Technology

Students enrolled in these 2-year degree programs are typically familiarized with both medical office procedures and rudimentary medical concepts, including coding and data management. Those who complete the program can seek entry-level careers as billing and coding specialists, medical records and health information technicians, among other related work roles.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offers the Registered Health Information Technician certification to those whom complete programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Admission criteria related to associate degree program in health information technology typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.

Coursework

Coursework in an Associate degree program in health information technology combines classroom lectures and supervised professional practice and may commonly include subject areas such as:

•Medical terminology
•Computer systems and data
•Health information management
•Legal aspects of health information
•Reimbursement methodologies
•Healthcare coding and diseases
•Clinical classification systems
•Billing and records
•Health information systems

Career Choices

Professionals in the field of health information technology can seek different positions, either in specialized areas or general clerical roles. This can vary depending on what a particular candidate’s interest is or how large a particular medical facility is. Individuals may choose from various job titles such as:

•Coding specialist
•Registered Health Information Technician
•Cancer registrar

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

The American Academy of Professional Coders and the AHIMA are among the organizations that award professional certification to health information professionals. Employers prefer professionals who hold certifications. Adequate experience and education requirements have to be met by candidates interested in obtaining certification. For instance, prospective Registered Health Information Technicians are required by the AHIMA to hold an accredited associate degree. Continued education through pursuance of bachelor’s or master’s degrees in the health information management field can help students to advance their careers by seeking administrative positions in the industry.

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