There is a huge demand for health information technology specialists. These professionals are responsible for maintaining, designing and operating the technology that keeps the healthcare industry running. The career outlook for clinical coders, patient information specialists, data analysts and clinical coders is strong. Technicians are employed in hospitals, clinics and private practices, mental health facilities, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, vendor companies, government agencies and education.
As the use of technology in the healthcare industry continues to increase the number of career opportunities for professional technicians will continue to grow as well. Patient care is becoming more complex. This is resulting in an increase in medical records that need to be maintained for each patient, and in turn, creating a need for more health information technicians to manage patient records. The benefits of using modern technology in the healthcare industry include less paperwork, higher productivity as well as fewer mistakes in patient record keeping.
An associate degree in health information technology will prepare students for positions as healthcare applications developers, health information technicians, medical secretaries and clinical laboratory technicians as well as consultants and sales and marketing support positions. Many graduates seek positions in hospitals or clinical settings, although many choose to enter the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
Degree programs encompass learning in technology, administration and medical areas. Graduates will be skilled in many areas of computer science including database management, trouble shooting, technical support and computer networking. They will also be knowledgeable in hospital regulations, insurance and billing procedures, medical ethics, patient privacy and record processing. Additional courses in medical areas will include medical terminology, biology, anatomy and physiology.
Applications developers create software to efficiently collect patient data, and streamline data processing. The shift to digital records and wireless communications in the medical field is creating a need for skilled professionals to help with this transition. Automated alert and reminder systems as well as digital protocol and safety systems are also among the applications that technicians design and maintain. Their work allows those responsible for patient care to do be more effective in their work.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for health information technologists will increase at a faster than normal rate through 2014, and maybe longer. Jobs for clinical laboratory technicians will be the fastest growing segment. The demand for medical secretaries will be the slowest growing; however, there will still be a number of jobs for these professionals.