By Holly Desrosier
Craven Community College’s (Craven CC) Health Information Technology (HIT) program is currently accepting applications and has extended the deadline to July 31. The growing demand for health care professionals in an increasingly electronic age makes it a great time to pursue a HIT career.
The HIT career is unique to the health care field in that it does not involve direct patient care. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that HIT occupations will grow much faster than average, with an estimated 13% growth and 27,800 new jobs in the field between 2016 and 2026. The health care industry is considered the nation’s largest employer, so it’s no wonder the need for highly trained health care professionals continues to rise. Moreover, with an aging population requiring more medical services, additional HIT professionals will be required to manage and organize the increase in health information data. In addition to a great job outlook, competitive salaries also await graduates.
“The best candidate is anyone who is comfortable with computers, wants to help doctors and nurses provide better care to patients, and is interested in a career field with lots of variety, growth potential and an opportunity to work remotely,” said Dr. Alec Newton, dean of health programs.
Craven CC’s HIT program provides students with information technology, clinical, leadership and management skills. Students will get hands-on instruction in preparation to work with electronic health records (EHR). These medical records are stored electronically as opposed to the traditional paper records, which can be inefficient and imprecise. The program emphasizes the utilization of EHR in conjunction with computer software and security.
The use of EHR has many benefits, such as greater accuracy, simplicity in updating records and the ease of transmitting a patient’s records across different health care settings. It also enables HIT professionals to systematically update records in real-time without the time-consuming task of filling in paperwork and scanning or making copies, making accurate medical records available instantaneously and securely to authorized users.
HIT students can expect to work with computers and data analysis to help clinics get paid correctly, make sure every patient receives the care they need and deserve, look for patterns where improvement is possible and help track trends for cancer research. Focused, detail-oriented people with a strong desire to earn a competitive salary and continually be challenged will thrive in this program.
“In an average workday, HIT professionals can expect to interact with other healthcare professionals, review patient data and compare to known standards or previous occurrences and advise the health team on areas of strengths and improvement,” said Newton. “Hours can be the standard 8-to-5 Monday-through-Friday or flexible, depending on the employer and job responsibilities.”
Craven CC’s HIT program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. This accreditation assures students that the program meets established standards for professional career entry while also ensuring prospective employers that students who receive a degree through Craven CC have achieved a quality education.
Upon completion of the program, graduates can expect to possess a skillset incorporating clinical, information technology, leadership and management skills and will be able to apply their knowledge to facets of health care such as records management to ensure information is accurate, accessible and secure in both paper and electronic file formats. Combined with the disciplines of medicine, finance and law, HIT graduates can choose from a variety of work settings across an array of health care environments.
Common careers include specialists in EHR, Quality Management, Medical Records, Medical Coding, Cancer Registry, Informatics, Performance and Analytics and Data Abstraction. Graduates can expect to find careers in a variety of health care settings, including hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices, as well as health information businesses such as software, insurance or research institutions.
For more information on Craven CC’s HIT program, contact Jolie Huffman at 252-639-2025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article also appeared in the Sun Journal.