What is a Health Information Technology Degree?

A Health Information Technology degree prepares an individual to use computer technology to manage health care data. The sight of hundreds of color-coded patient files in the wall at the doctor’s office will become a thing of the past. Today you’re likely to find healthcare personnel in transition as they shift to processes utilizing computer skills to make these cumbersome tasks much more efficient. Health information technology provides the framework to achieve this.

 Benefits of Health Information Technology

Health information technology improves the effectiveness of the health care system by preventing dosage errors and misdiagnoses that occur when more than one physician or pharmacy is involved in a patient’s care. According to the American College of Physicians, almost 195,000 people die each year due to preventable errors. Health information technology creates a master file for each patient, detailing conditions, medications, dosages and other critical data. This, in turn, reduces health care costs by eliminating complications and subsequent treatment, reducing or eliminating paperwork, speeding up processing time and increasing the quality of the patient’s experience. Analysis of infectious disease trends from data collected by health information technology will save lives by giving researchers the advantage of meeting the challenge head on instead of dealing with the aftermath.

Job Prospects in the Health Information Technology Field

A degree in health information technology provides a career path to many different positions within this fast-growing field, depending on individual interests and personality. You can expect to be able to work in positions ranging from management and administration to medical procedure and billing to information management and computer technology. Depending on the facility, a job may focus on one part of a complex system, or may involve many aspects of assembling and dispersing critical medical information at a smaller facility. Computer aptitude and attention to detail are skills that are particularly well suited to this field.

Health Information Technology Aided by Legislation

Whether you are in favor of or opposed to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the fact is that it allocates $2 billion to assist providers with the implementation of health information technology. Medicare and Medicaid will fund another $17 billion in incentives for health care providers who implement this technology before 2015. Federal funding will be lost to those institutions not compliant before 2015. Clearly, this requires the services of people possessing health information technology degrees and trained in this field. The job growth projection through 2020 is 21% which is faster than average.

The Time is Now

Due to the growing and timely nature of health information technology, this degree is in demand and will continue to be, especially while current practices catch up with best practices and then move into a maintenance phase. Electronic storage and instant retrieval of health care records is clearly a timely use of technology to safeguard the health of the nation and improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of the health care system. Earning a health information technology degree is an excellent way to be in the right place at the right time and take advantage of the health care revolution.

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