Health Information Technology FAQ
Health Information Technology is the profession that focuses on health care data and validity, and the organization and management of health information in electronic, paper-based, or hybrid formats in a variety of health care settings. MVCC's associate degree in Health Information Technology will prepare you to enter the profession as a health information management professional who is responsible for maintaining accessibility, accuracy, and quality of health information by using knowledge and skills in areas such as accreditation and regulation, coding and reimbursement, data collection and analytics, information management and computer technology, and legal and ethical aspects, which include privacy and security.
The Health Information Technology program at MVCC is a two-year (four-semester) program offered completely online. The courses consist of core health information technology, biology, computer technology, and general education courses. You may pursue the degree as a full- or part-time student, and may be eligible for financial aid if you register for a sufficient number of credits each semester. Part-time students are required to complete all general education courses prior to registering for health information technology core courses.
During your last semester of academic study, you will complete a nonpaid professional practice experience (PPE) in the health information management department of a hospital or other appropriate health care facility to gain work experience prior to graduation. The benefits of completing the PPE include putting into practice what you learned and an introduction to prospective employment opportunities.
Yes. MVCC’s Health Information Technology program is accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM). Upon completion of this CAHIIM-accredited HIT program, you will be eligible to take the national Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification examination, which is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Professionals holding the RHIT credential are health information technicians who:
- Ensure the quality of patient records by verifying completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems (e.g., electronic health records).
- Use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling health care costs.
- Often specialize in one of many areas, such as coding diagnoses and procedures abstracted
from patient records for reimbursement and research purposes, collecting and analyzing
data obtained from electronic health record databases, supervising and/or managing
other health information management employees and the tasks they are responsible for
completing, ensuring the appropriate release of patient information from records,
maintaining the privacy and security of patient records, and so on. Registered health
information technicians also serve as cancer registrars in many facilities, which
requires them to compile and maintain data on cancer patients.
With experience, having the RHIT credential facilitates the health information management professional’s solid potential for advancement into management positions, especially when combined with a bachelor's degree.
Although most registered health information technicians work in hospitals, they also are employed in other health care settings, including office-based physician practices, nursing facilities, home health agencies, hospice agencies, mental health care facilities, public health agencies, and more. In fact, registered health information technicians may be employed in any organization that uses patient data or health information, such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, and health product vendors.
Please refer to the “HIT: How to Apply” document.
There are many different positions available to RHIT-credentialed professionals. The following are examples of such positions. For an extensive look at available health information technology careers, please visit the AHIMA Career Map. Here are some examples:
- Electronic health record training specialist
- Health information manager
- Health information technician
- Practice workflow implementation specialist
- Project manager
- Reimbursement specialist/medical biller
The median annual wage for health information technicians was $37,110 in May 2015. For more statistical information regarding the health information technology industry, please visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics at www.bls.gov.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of health information technicians is projected to grow 15 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. For more detailed information, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics job outlook.
MVCC’s Health Information Technology program begins each fall semester and continues for four semesters. You also may begin the program during the spring semester, especially if planning to attend part time.
If you are a matriculated student who has health information management work experience, you also are eligible to challenge health information technology core courses, depending on your background.
Yes. There are several transfer options available. For example, MVCC’s Health Information Technology program has an articulation agreement with SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Health Information Management online program.
MVCC’s Health Information Technology program is offered completely online. HIT core courses are not offered on campus courses. However, general education course may be taken on campus (e.g., Human Anatomy & Physiology 1 and 2, English, Math, Psychology, Sociology).
We cannot guarantee job placement for graduates; however, MVCC’s Career Services Office provides excellent resources for those conducting job searches.
No. You are not required to take the RHIT certification exam; however, it is highly recommended that you take the exam during your last semester of study so you can be marketable and employable in the industry. Many health care facilities searching for health information management professionals prefer credentialed staff. Please realize that the RHIT certification exam is textbook-based, which is the reason that students are permitted to take the exam in their last semester of study. If you do not take the exam at that time, you should take it as close to your graduation date as possible (because textbook content changes annually).
Another reason to take the RHIT exam is because you do not know what your future will be. Although your first position might not require the RHIT credential, your second position and beyond may require the credential. Because the exam is textbook-based, you should try to take the exam during your last semester of study or just after graduating.