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.
Alfred State health information technology graduates may enter directly into either the healthcare management BTech, the interdisciplinary studies BTech, or the technology management BBA degree program.
Students complete non-paid professional practice experiences (PPEs) in the Health Information Department of a health care facility (160 hours) in their 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. The professional practical experience (PPE) includes 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 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 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.
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.
One-plus-one transfer agreements exist among 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.
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.
Employment and continuing education rate of 83 percent – 75 percent are employed; 8 percent continued their education.
|Responding to Survey||13 (68%)||26 (79%)||23 (74%)||9 (39%)||22 (79%)|
|Employed||12 (92%)||24 (92%)||17 (74%)||7 (78%)||16 (73%)|
|Employed in Field||12 (92%)||20 (83%)||17 (74%)||7 (100%)||16 (100%)|
|Transferred||1 (8%)||1 (4%)||3 (13%)||1 (11%)||4 (18%)|
|Unemployed & Seeking Employment||--||1 (4%)||3 (13%)||-||2 (9%)|
|Unemployed & Not Seeking Employment||-||-||-||-||-|
|Source: Website (Career Development Office) Employment and Continuing Education Report 2014|
The 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 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 Accreditation (CHEA) [One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036, 202-955-6126, email@example.com]. CHEA is a nationally recognized nongovernmental higher education organization that undertakes recognition of accrediting bodies.
Alfred State is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education [3624 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, 215-662-5606].
Graduates are 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).
Required: High school keyboarding, biology, MS Office Professional or equivalent.
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.
TYPICAL FOUR-SEMESTER PROGRAM - Full-time
This program is offered as an Internet-based program only
|BIOL||1114||Human Anat & Physiology I||4|
|MEDR||1132||Essentials of Pharmacology||2|
|MEDR||1114||Intro to Health Info Managemnt||4|
|BIOL||2214||Human Anat & Physiology II||4|
|MEDR||3114||Electronic Health Record Mgmt||4|
|MEDR||1234||ICD-10-CM & ICD-10-PCS Coding||4|
|*Recommended by CAHIM|
|MEDR||1223||Hlth Data Mgmt & Hlthcare Stat||3|
|MEDR||1244||CPT & HCPCS Level II Coding||4|
|MEDR||3414||Quality & Legal Aspects of HIM||4|
|*Recommended by CAHIM|
|LITR||2603||Introduction to Literature||3|
|MEDR||4514||Alternate Care Hlth Info Mgmt||4|
|MEDR||4213||Leadership in Health Info Tech||3|
|MEDR||2614||Advanced Coding & Reimbursemnt||4|
|MEDR||4312||HIM Operations PPE||2|
|MEDR||4111||Health Informatn Tech Seminar||1|
Be advised that a prior felony conviction may impede a student’s ability to participate in a required professional practice experience.
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. The extensive use of a computer keyboard and mouse is required.
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.
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.
HIT students are required to earn a grade of at least a "C" or better in each BIOL and MEDR prefix course prior to placement in the PPEs. Students must also earn a grade of at least a "C" in all BIOL, MEDR, and COMP 1503 courses to graduate from the HIT program.
MEDR 2614 (advanced coding & reimbursement) may be taken in the last semester as an elective.