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Learning Center Experience
By Dr. Brina Hollis, CAHIMS, School of Health Sciences
Information Technology (IT) is the act of applying computers
to store, retrieve, transmit, analyze, and manipulate data. Health Information Technology (HIT) is the
application of the aforementioned used in the health care system. HIT is a
growing and emerging field which brings many career opportunities to the field
of health informatics and health information management. The current mandates
such as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health
(HITECH) Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), support the use of technology in health care in order to
increase, cost, and access to health care and health services.
The field of
health information is emerging and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
(BLS) careers in health information will continue to grow faster than average
into 2024.* Health information professionals care for patients by safeguarding
their health data.
Like IT, the field of health
information offers many different career tasks that include infrastructure,
customer support, applications support, web technologies, and clinical. The
infrastructure tasks deal with setting up and managing the hardware on the
network and ensuring that the network and servers function properly. The
customer service tasks deal with internal customer service and takes calls for
internal customers (employees) when there is a problem with the network or
issues with gaining access to the network. The applications tasks deals with
making software and adapting software so that it is functional for the organization.
The web technologies tasks deals with design, development, and architecture.
Clinical tasks deal with utilizing technology to define, manage, and share
health data in order to support patient outcomes. Clinicians also provide
feedback on system design and ease of use.
To make this information easier to understand, there are
three main career categories that encompass the tasks listed above: health
information technology, health information management, and health informatics.
Education can facilitate the pathway to career transition.
Operational experience is also important and can be gained by volunteering and
obtaining a mentor who works in the field. As has been stated, the field has
many opportunities and welcomes those with a clinical background, IT background,
and those with a passion for learning about this emerging and exciting field.
Tips for career transition include
self-assessment, research, education, training, and networking.
Courses in health care, math, technology, finance, ethics,
and business courses make up the skill set needed for a health information
professional. Additional professional competencies and skills requisite for any
HIT/HIM/HI position include:
Those choosing to work in HI/HIM will have a variety of job
opportunities and facilities in which to work. Some of the types of facilities
that may offer employment to those who hold certifications, experience, and
degrees in this area include:
Health information is the largest and fastest growing
industry in the United States. A 2014 study conducted by HIMSS there is a
shortage of qualified health information professionals and many organizations
health information initiatives have had to outsource for talent or put projects
on hold due to shortage of qualified professionals. Health information is an
emerging profession that offers a variety of diverse career opportunities.
Dr. Brina Hollis, CAHIMS, is a faculty member at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University. The University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.
HIMSS (2014). 2014 HIMSS Workforce Survey. Retrieved from: http://www.himss.org/ResourceLibrary/genResourceDetailPDF.aspx?ItemNumber=41969. Visited April 23 2016.
AHIMA (2016), Health Information 101. Retrieved from: http://www.ahima.org/careers/healthinfo. Visited April 23, 2016.
* Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, on the Internet www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm. National long-term
projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions,
and do not guarantee actual job growth.
The Growing Field of Health Care Information Technology
The Big Data Evolution in Health Care
Did you find this article interesting? If so, share it!
And if you are considering pursuing a health sciences degree, we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University's School of Health Sciences and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.
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