What Is a Health Information Technologist?

Not all critical roles in patient care require direct patient interaction. Health information technologists work to ensure high-quality patient care and security by capturing and entering patient health data into health information systems such as electronic medical records (EMRs).

At Cambridge, students receive the hands-on training they need to enter successful careers as health information technologists via our Health Information Technology program. A rewarding career in the fast-growing healthcare IT industry awaits you.

What is Health Information Technology? [Simple Summary]

What are a health information technologist’s main duties?

There are many specific roles and specializations for health information technology professionals. Those working in smaller facilities typically need to have enough expertise to work with many different patient database software applications and be involved in all stages of implementation, from gathering and adding data to performing database maintenance services. Those working in larger facilities, however, are usually part of a larger team and only specialize in a single software application or set of tasks.

As a general rule, most health information technologies work in one of three departments:

What is a health information technologist?

A health information technologist, also called a health information technology specialist, is responsible for handling all technical aspects regarding managing patient health information. They are typically tasked with creating, implementing or maintaining various electronic health record databases and have access to all information regarding how data is stored and used.

Maintaining an easily accessible patient information database can significantly improve the quality of a health facilitys patient services and experienced health information technologists often work with healthcare teams and healthcare facility management to find ways in which they can improve the quality and lower the costs of patient information management.

What education do health information technologists need?

Health information technologists require at least a bachelors degree in health information management or a similar field to be eligible for the role. Students who earn a health information management degree learn how to improve healthcare systems and medical infrastructures, evaluate various health policy enforcing methods and use computer software to gather and analyze data. The bachelors program takes four years to complete.

What is a health information technologist’s work environment?

Given the rapid expansion of electronic systems used for keeping medical records, health information technologists are needed in most healthcare facilities of any kind. Most of them, however, work in clinics and hospitals, but some work in nursing homes, dental offices, chiropractic offices and other similar facilities. Some also work directly for the companies that create the software that medical facilities use to store patient information, either as consultants or as members of the design team.

Those working in hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities that require non-stop working hours typically work in shifts and have schedules that may include nights, weekends and holidays.

What training and certifications do health information technologists need?

Graduating with a bachelors degree in health information management gives you the knowledge you need to earn health IT certifications. Some of the most important are:

Aside from these certifications, aspiring health information technologists need to gain direct experience in the medical field, in roles related to either administrative or clinical work. Also, those who want to eventually reach management-level status can also pursue a masters degree.

What are the main skills of a health information technologist?

Given the fact that health information technologists need solid knowledge of both healthcare and IT, their skill set is usually very diverse. Some of the most important skills for the role are:

FAQ

What does a health information technology do?

Health Information Technician Definition

Health information technicians collect and verify patient data, including symptoms, medical histories, and more. They also use electronic health record (EHR) software to help analyze bigger-picture trends in healthcare data.

Is health information technology a good career?

Health information technology can be a very worthwhile career choice for many. It’s in high demand, and experts don’t see that changing anytime soon. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in medical records and health information systems are expected to grow by a rate of 8% within the next decade.

What are the typical work responsibilities of health information technicians?

Health information technicians collect, analyze, and track treatment and followup information on patients. They respond to record requests and validate authorizations and other legal requests. These technicians also provide administrative support to other staff in the health information management department.

What are examples of health information technology?

There are multiple examples of health information technology operating in the real world. Many of these examples, such as secure messaging, mobile applications, and personal monitoring capabilities, are finding their way into many healthcare providers’ regular infrastructure and routine.

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