When people think about careers in the field of health care, such jobs as doctors, nurses and even receptionists might be the first ones to come to mind. Beyond the men and women who actually tend to health concerns, there is a wide range of employment possibilities in the field of health information technology. As computer technology continues to evolve, positions in this field will continue to flourish.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes that health information technology is responsible for “comprehensive management of information and its secure exchange between health care consumers and providers.” The exchange of patient information among doctors, hospitals and pharmacies must be performed in a secure manner, considering the sensitive nature of this information. Medical coding is another important function for those in the health information technology field. Insurance companies and medical providers need to work efficiently to provide the highest quality of patient care.
Information technology as a field consists of areas designated to handle the business functions of running a hospital or doctor’s office. Billing is an example of such a task that is not exclusive to the field of health. Scheduling and payroll are also types of functions found in most industries.
Unlike other industries, though, health information technology jobs are also concerned with taking care of sick people and helping to save lives. This is accomplished through such tasks as: clinical decision support systems, electronic prescribing of medication and handling electronic health records.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, health information technology jobs play a significant role in the world of health care. Employees in these positions help doctors to make quicker, more informed decisions by providing complete and accurate information. Additionally, earlier diagnoses and disease categorizations are achieved with the aid of electronic databases. Creating and maintaining such databases are a significant part of the health information technology field. These resources are beneficial to doctors and help save lives.
Those seeking a career in the field of health information technology must consider that entry-level health information technicians typically have at least an associate degree. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that many employers in the health field--doctor’s offices and hospitals--prefer to hire those with Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) credentials. Both traditional schools and online programs present an opportunity for interested applicants to gain the education needed to enter the field.
Those interested in pursing a career in the field of health information technology benefit from an abundance of job opportunities. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in the field is expected to grow “much faster than the average” for all career growth. This is because the use of electronic health records is increasing and numerous openings will be available to replace retiring technicians and those who choose to leave the field permanently.