2019-2020 Course Catalog and Student Handbook 
    
    Nov 17, 2019  
2019-2020 Course Catalog and Student Handbook

Health Information Management Technology AAS Program Fact Sheet


What is Health Information Technology? Health information management technology involves the processing of all types of health information, and focuses on legal, accreditation, licensure and certification standards. HIMT involves reimbursement, facility planning, marketing, risk management, utilization management, quality assessment and research. Graduates may work in hospitals, in doctor’s offices, for healthcare vendors, or for government and non-profit agencies. Learn more about the career at www.ahima.org.
Length of Program 4 semesters
Program begins in the summer and fall semester.
Students can expect mostly day courses, some evening and online.
General Admission Application Process
  1. Apply to Gwinnett Technical College at GwinnettTech.edu, submit all transcripts from high school and previous college work, and take the ACCUPLACER test, if required. Students must be accepted into Gwinnett Tech prior to applying to a program of study.
  2. Applicants are initially accepted into the Interdisciplinary Studies degree program while completing the required prerequisite courses.
Program Application Process
  1. All applicants are required to submit a Health Information Management Technology program packet by the file completion deadline. The Health Information Management Technology program packets are available online at http://www.gwinnetttech.edu/enrollment/forms-documents/
  2. For summer 2019 semester admission, the program application and all prerequisites must be completed by April 1st.
  3. For fall 2019 semester admission, the program application and all prerequisites must be completed by July 24th.
  4. For spring 2020 semester admission, the program application and all prerequisites must be completed by November 16th.
Prerequisite Courses All of the following:
 
Additional Required Courses One of the following:
 
  FYES 1000  - First Year Experience Seminar – preferred this course be taken prior to program start date but can be taken during the first semester in the program. Transfer students with 30 or more transferable credit hours will be exempt from taking the FYES 1000 course. *Courses may not be more than 5 years old at time of program application.
Competitive Admissions Admissions for the Health Information Technology program is based on a minimum 2.5 GPA. GPA is calculated using all attempts of prerequisite courses. Applicants who have completed their prerequisites are accepted into the program on a first come, first served basis.
For more information, contact: Kim Smith, program support specialist KimberlySmith@GwinnettTech.edu, 678.226.6966
For admission and enrollment, contact: Enrollment Support Center in Building 100 at the Lawrenceville campus or Building A at the Alpharetta-North Fulton campus or email at HealthTeam@GwinnettTech.edu.
Information Sessions
Everyone is welcome to attend our Information Session held on the 3rd Thursday of each month*
at 6 p.m., in Building 200, Room 246

Quick Facts

2018 Median pay              $40,350 per year /$19.40 per hour
Entry level education              Associate degree
Number of jobs, 2016             206,300
Job growth, 2016 - 2026             13% (Faster than average)

Nature of the Work

Medical records and health information technicians assemble patients’ health information, including medical history, symptoms, examination results, diagnostic tests, treatment methods, and all other healthcare provider services. Technicians organize and manage health information data by ensuring its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security. They regularly communicate with physicians and other healthcare professionals to clarify diagnoses or to obtain additional information.

The increasing use of electronic health records (EHR) will continue to broaden and alter the job responsibilities of health information technicians. For example, with the use of EHRs, technicians must be familiar with EHR computer software, maintaining EHR security, and analyzing electronic data to improve healthcare information. Health information technicians use EHR software to maintain data on patient safety, patterns of disease, and disease treatment and outcome. Technicians also may assist with improving EHR software usability and may contribute to the development and maintenance of health information networks.

Medical records and health information technicians’ duties vary with the size of the facility where they work. Technicians can specialize in many aspects of health information. Some medical records and health information technicians specialize in codifying patients’ medical information for reimbursement purposes. Technicians who specialize in coding are called medical coders or coding specialists. Medical coders assign a code to each diagnosis and procedure by using classification systems software. The classification system determines the amount for which Medicare, Medicaid, or other insurance programs will reimburse healthcare providers. Coders may use several coding systems, such as those required for ambulatory settings, physician offices, or long-term care.

Medical records and health information technicians also may specialize in cancer registry. Cancer (or tumor) registrars maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients. Registrars review patient records and pathology reports, and assign codes for the diagnosis and treatment of different cancers and selected benign tumors. Registrars conduct annual follow-ups to track treatment, survival, and recovery. This information is used to calculate survivor rates and success rates of various types of treatment, to locate geographic areas with high incidences of certain cancers, and to identify potential participants for clinical drug trials.

Work Environment

Medical records and health information technicians work in pleasant and comfortable offices. This is one of the few health-related occupations in which there is no direct hands-on patient care. Medical records and health information technicians usually work a typical 40-hour week. Some overtime may be required. In health facilities that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, technicians may work day, evening, and night shifts. Health information technicians held about 188,600 jobs in 2014. Most health information technicians work in hospitals or physicians’ offices.

This is one of the few health-related occupations in which there is no direct hands-on patient care. Medical records and health information technicians held about 188,600 jobs in 2014. The industries that employed the most medical records and health information technicians were as follows:

  Hospitals; state, local, and private         38%                                                                                  
  Offices of physicians         21  
  Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities)         7  
  Administrative and support services         6  
  Professional, scientific, and technical services         5  

More than half worked in hospitals or physicians’ offices in 2014, and most others worked in various healthcare settings. Technicians typically work in offices and may spend many hours in front of computer monitors. Some technicians may work from home.

Employment

Medical records and health information technicians held about 186,300 jobs nationally in 2014. About 39 percent of jobs were in hospitals. Health information technicians work at a number of healthcare providers such as offices of physicians, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and home healthcare services. Technicians also gain employment outside of healthcare facilities, such as in federal government agencies. Employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase by 21 percent, faster than the average for all occupations through 2020. Employment growth will result from the increase in the number of medical tests, treatments, and procedures that doctors perform.

Earnings

The median annual wage for medical records and health information technicians was $37,110 in May 2015. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,190, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $61,400.

In May 2015, the median annual wages for medical records and health information technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

  Professional, scientific, and technical services $40,790  
  Hospitals; state, local, and private $39,570  
  Administrative and support services $36,630  
  Nursing care facilities (skilled nursing facilities) $35,270  
  Offices of physicians $32,080  

Job Outlook

Employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 15 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for health services is expected to increase as the population ages.

 

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
 Percent change in employment, projected 2014 - 24

 
  Health technologists and technician 16%  
  Medical records and health information technicians 15%  
  Total, all occupations 7%  

Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program.

An aging population will require more medical services, and health information technicians will be needed to organize and manage the older generations’ health information data. Moreover, the number of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue to increase because of federal health insurance reform. This will mean more claims for reimbursement from insurance companies.

Additional records, coupled with widespread use of electronic health records (EHRs) by all types of healthcare providers, will lead to an increased need for technicians to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry.

Cancer registrars are expected to continue to be in high demand. As the population ages, there will likely be more types of special purpose registries because many illnesses are detected and treated later in life.

How to Become a Health Information Management Technologist

Health information technicians typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, although some may need an associate degree. Certification is often required.

Job Prospects

Prospects will be best for those with a certification in health information, such as the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) or the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR). As EHR systems continue to become more common, health information technicians with computer skills will be needed to use them.

Important Qualities

Analytical Skills. Health information technicians must be able to understand and follow medical records and diagnoses, and then decide how best to code them in a patient’s medical records.
Detail oriented. Health information technicians must be accurate when recording and coding patient information.
Integrity. Health information technicians work with patient data that are required, by law, to be kept confidential. They must exercise caution and a strong sense of ethics when working with this information in order to protect patient confidentiality.
Interpersonal Skills. Health information technicians need to be able to discuss patient information, discrepancies, and data requirements with other professionals such as physicians and finance personnel.
Technical Skills. Health information technicians must be able to use coding and classification software and the electronic health record (EHR) system that their healthcare organization or physician practice has adopted.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2017-18 Edition,
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm.