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.
- 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.
Program Student Learning Objectives
- Apply biomedical knowledge (including medical terminology, anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology,
and pharmacology) to apply diagnosis/procedure codes (ICD-9-CM, ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS,
CPT, and HCPCS level II according to current nomenclature.
- Use established federal guidelines, accreditation standards, and APC and DRG calculator/grouper
software to comply with health care documentation (review), reimbursement, and reporting
- Apply HIM knowledge as defined by organizational policy and external regulations (e.g.,
Medicare, Medicaid, managed care) and standards to Apply HIM knowledge as defined
by organizational policy and external regulations (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, managed
care) and standards to maintain the accuracy and completeness of the patient record.
- Apply HIM knowledge of policies and procedures for confidentiality and security measures
regarding the access and disclosure of protected health information (PHI) to authorized
- Apply HIM knowledge in the collection, maintenance, and reporting of data for clinical
indices/databases/registries to meet specific organizational and regulatory needs
for the purposes of medical research and education.
- Organize and present data for quality management, utilization management, risk management,
and other related studies.
- Apply HIM knowledge of legal, ethical, accreditation and certification standards as
appropriate for the management of patient information.
- Apply basic methods when calculating descriptive, institutional, and health care vital
- Apply the use of common software applications (e.g., spreadsheets, databases, word
processing, graphics, presentation, email, and so on) and HIM-related software applications
(e.g., release of information, electronic health record, patient record abstracting,
and so on).
- Apply HIM knowledge to promote ethical standards of practice to health information
management and coding.
- Demonstrate effective written and oral communication as appropriate to health information
management and coding practices. Communicate effectively with consumers, providers,
and other health care professionals.
- Demonstrate critical thinking to problem solving and reasoning skills to health information
management and coding practices.
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 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
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 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.
- Hospitals and other health care facilities
- Clinics and physicians' offices
- Insurance companies
- State and federal agencies
- Law/computer firms
- Software companies
Employment and continuing education rate of 91 percent – 73 percent are employed; 18
percent continued their education.
|Responding to Survey
|Employed in Field
|Unemployed & Seeking Employment
|Unemployed & Not Seeking Employment
|Source: Website (Career Development Office) Employment and Continuing Education Report
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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org].
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
Required: High school keyboarding, biology, MS Office Professional or equivalent.