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Health Information Technology

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AAS Degree – Code #1969

Mark Amman, Department Chair
Email address: ammanmj@alfredstate.edu

Health information technology (HIT) professionals play a key role in the planning, implementation, and management of the electronic health record (EHR), and with today’s growing reliance on computer-based records, this profession has become one of the fastest growing in the nation. HIT professionals are educated in the leadership and management of health information, and are considered the custodians of health information. In this career, your primary function will be to make sure all the medical information collected about an individual is complete, accurate, and protected, while, at the same time, readily available for health care providers when it is needed.

Alfred State offers an online Associate of Applied Science degree in health information technology, which combines a profession in health care with information technology. As an HIT professional, you will be responsible for maintaining components of health information systems consistent with medical, legal, accreditation, and regulatory requirements of the health care delivery system. You will also maintain, collect, and analyze data crucial to the delivery of quality patient care.

Advantages

  • The health information technology program is accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) [233 N. Michigan Ave., 21st Floor, Chicago, IL 60601-5800, 312-233-1100, www.cahiim.org/]. CAHIIM is an independent accrediting organization that enforces quality Accreditation Standards for Health Informatics and Health Information Management (HIM) educational programs through accreditation. CAHIIM accredits associate and baccalaureate degree programs in health information management and master's degree programs in the health informatics and health information management professions. CAHIIM is recognized by the Council for Higher Education and Accreditation (CHEA) [One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036, 202-955-6126, chea@chea.org]. CHEA is a nationally recognized nongovernmental higher education organization that undertakes recognition of accrediting bodies. Alfred State has offered traditional HIT courses on campus since 1968 and has offered the Internet-based since 1999.
  • Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination to become a registered health information technician (RHIT). Since 1968, when the program was created, Alfred State HIT graduates have traditionally achieved a passing rate above the national average.
  • Graduates are also eligible to take the Certified Coding Specialist (CCA, CCS and CCS-P) and Certified Professional Coder (CPC, CPC-A, CPC-H-A, CPC-H and CPC-P) exams. It is strongly recommended students complete technical elective courses in this area of study and work for a minimum of one year as a coder before taking the coding certification exam(s).
  • Students complete non-paid professional practice experiences (PPEs) in the Health Information department of a health care facility (160 hours) in their last semester of study.

Direct Entry Into Baccalaureate Degree Program

Alfred State health information technology graduates may enter directly into either the interdisciplinary studies BTech or the technology management BBA degree program.

Professional Practice Experiences

Students complete non-paid professional practice experiences (PPEs) in the Health Information department of an acute care facility (160 hours) in their last semester of study. PPE arrangements are made in consultation with each student so that convenient locations are selected. Students are not a substitute for paid staff during PPEs, which means they are expected to receive appropriate supervision and mentoring during completion of all tasks. Although we try to accommodate a student's first choice, we can only place students at facilities willing to host a student. The professional practical experience (PPE) includes a combination of Internet-based laboratory projects/assignments and the completion of on-site hours in the Health Information Management (HIM) department of a hospital (or other health care facility) with adequate facilities to provide varied work opportunities in HIM. The Internet-based laboratory HIM projects/assignments are evaluated by college faculty.

The Joint Commission Hospital Accreditation Standards Manual requires hospitals to implement “a process to ensure that a person’s qualifications are consistent with his/her job responsibilities.” This standard “applies to staff, students, and volunteers,” and it further states the hospital is responsible for verifying “the following according to law, regulation, or hospital policy: information on criminal background.” As such, Alfred State students who complete PPEs in the HIT technology program may be required to undergo a criminal background check prior to placement at the facility. In addition, the facility may require students to undergo a physical examination (on-site at the facility or by the student’s primary care provider) prior to beginning the professional practice experience. The physical examination includes drug screening, a TB test, and/or DTB, hepatitis B, and/or MMRV immunization or status. Students may be required to incur costs associated with the criminal background check and/or physical examination.

Once a PPE placement has been arranged, students are expected to contact the professional practice supervisor to arrange a schedule for attendance. Students may be required to attend an on-site orientation at the professional practice facility, which could be several days in length beyond the 160 PPE hours. Students must make appropriate arrangements with their current employer to complete the 160 hours at the PPE host site.

Articulation Agreements

One-plus-one transfer agreements exist between Alfred State and Jamestown and American Somoa Community Colleges. Students complete their first year of study at the local community college and transfer to Alfred State for their second year. Transfer is guaranteed if a student successfully completes the prescribed first-year schedule of courses with a 2.0 cumulative index.

Continuing Education Opportunities

Although not limited to these schools, common transfer institutions for HIT bachelor's degree programs include SUNY Polytechnic, Stephens College, St. Scholastica, Regis University, University of Cincinnati, and Saint Joseph's College of Maine.

Occupational Opportunities

  • Hospitals and other health care facilities
  • Clinics and physicians' offices
  • Insurance companies
  • State and federal agencies
  • Law/computer firms
  • Software companies
  • Consulting

Employment Statistics

Employment and continuing education rate of 89 percent – 78 percent are employed; 11 percent continued their education.

Survey Details 2011 2012 2013 2014
Receiving Degrees 19 33 31 21
Responding to Survey 13 (68%) 26 (79%) 23 (74%) 13 (62%)
Employed 12 (92%) 24 (92%) 17 (74%) 9 (69%)
Employed in Field 12 (92%) 20 (83%) 17 (74%) 9 (100%)
Transferred 1 (8%) 1 (4%) 3 (13%) 3 (23%)
Unemployed & Seeking Employment -- 1 (4%) 3 (13%) 1 (8%)
Unemployed & Not Seeking Employment -- -- -- 0 (0%)
         
Source: Website (Career Development Office) Employment and Continuing Education Report 2014

Accreditation/Certification

cahiim-accredited-sealThe health information technology program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) [233 N. Michigan Ave., 21st Floor, Chicago, IL 60601-5800, 312-233-1100, www.cahiim.org/]. CAHIIM is an independent accrediting organization which enforces quality Accreditation Standards for Health Informatics and Health Information Management (HIM) educational programs through accreditation. CAHIIM accredits associate and baccalaureate degree programs in health information management and master's degree programs in the health informatics and health information management professions. CAHIIM is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) [One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036, 202-955-6126, chea@chea.org]. CHEA is a nationally recognized nongovernmental higher education organization that undertakes recognition of accrediting bodies. Alfred State has offered traditional HIT courses on campus since 1968 and has offered the Internet-based since 1999.

Alfred State is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education [3624 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215-662-5606].

Credentials

Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination to become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). Since 1968, when the program was created, Alfred State HIT graduates have traditionally achieved a passing rate above the national average.

Graduates are also eligible to take the Certified Coding Specialist (CCA, CCS and CCS-P) and Certified Professional Coder (CPC, CPC-A, CPC-H-A, CPC-H and CPC-P) exams. It is strongly recommended students complete technical elective courses in this area of study and work for a minimum of one year as a coder before taking the coding certification exam(s).

Related Programs

Entrance Requirements/recommendations

Be advised that a prior felony conviction my impede a student’s ability to participate in a required professional practice experience.

Required: High school biology or equivalent.

Recommended: Keyboarding, MS Office Professional.

Must be able to attend Professional Practice Experience (PPE) courses including 160 hours at a health care facility within reasonable driving/travel distance to their home.

Working in the Health Information Management HIM profession requires long periods of standing and/or sitting. Job duties typically include handling paper documents and use of computer screens. Near vision reading of paper records or computer screens, including the use of multiple computer applications, is required 95 percent of the time. Documents are handwritten on paper, and other documents and information used are on computer screens, including scanned documents and images. The computer screen fonts may be small. HIM professionals spend the greater portion of the work day reading and analyzing both handwritten and computerized documents and use multiple software applications such as the electronic health record.The extensive use of a computer keyboard and mouse is required. Individuals should assess their personal limitations and abilities within these working environments, as HIM candidates will be assessed in all of these skill sets during the hiring process.

Health Information Technology - AAS Degree

TYPICAL FOUR-SEMESTER PROGRAM - Full-time

This program is offered as an Internet-based program only

First

BIOL 1114 Human Anat & Physiology I 4
COMP 1503 Freshman Composition 3
MEDR 1133 Medical Terminology 3
MEDR 1114 Intro to Health Info Managemnt 4
       
One General Education course: 
MATH 1113* Statistical Concepts 3
MATH 1033* College Algebra 3
PSYC 1013* General Psychology 3
SOCI 1163* General Sociology 3
      17

Second

BIOL 2214 Human Anat & Physiology II 4
BIOL 4403 Pathophysiology 3
MEDR 1132 Essentials of Pharmacology 2
MEDR 1223 Hlth Data Mgmt & Hlthcare Stat 3
MEDR 1234 ICD-10-CM & ICD-10-PCS Coding 4
      16

Third

MEDR 3114 Electronic Health Record Mgmt 4
MEDR 1244 CPT & HCPCS Level II Coding 4
MEDR 3414 Quality & Legal Aspects of HIM 4
       
One General Education course: 
PHIL 2013* Critical Thinking 3
LITR 2603* Introduction to Literature 3
LITR 2343* Children's Literature 3
SPAN 1203* Spanish I 3
      15

Fourth

MEDR 4214 Insurance&Reimbursmt Processng 4
MEDR 4514 Alternate Care Hlth Info Mgmt 4
MEDR 4213 Leadership in Health Info Tech 3
MEDR 4312 Intro to HIM PPE 2
MEDR 4322 Coding PPE 2
MEDR 4111 Health Informatn Tech Seminar 1
      16

*general education courses available online

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

HIT students are required to earn a grade of at least a "C" or better in each BIOL and MEDR prefix courses prior to placement in the PPEs. Students must also earn a grade of at least "C" in all BIOL, MEDR, COMP 1503, and BUAD 3153 courses to graduate from the HIT program. 

Should a student fail MEDR or BIOL courses a second time: They may re-take MEDR and/or BIOL courses as a continuing education student. Then, upon successful completion with a "C" or better, students can apply for readmission to the HIT program. Or, students may re-take the BIOL/MEDR equivalent courses on-campus at Alfred State or at another college after first obtaining pre-approval of the course for transfer credit and then earning a grade of "C" or better. 

CISY 1003 (introduction to microcomputers) may be taken in the first semester as an elective. CISY 1003 is strongly recommended for students without Microsoft Office experience.

MEDR 2614 (advanced coding & reimbursement) may be taken in the last semester as an elective.

Part-time students are required to take their general education courses prior to MEDR courses.