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Health Information Specialist - Health Info Tech

Health Information Specialists work in tandem with Coding specialists and Health Information Technicians in handling medical data. Unlike positions in coding or IT, advanced study beyond a high school diploma is unnecessary. However, most positions prefer previous experience in the field and knowledge of healthcare IT systems, which can be obtained through courses at a junior college. Interested students should obtain a basic knowledge of information technology, communication arts (both written and oral), and computer science. A basic knowledge of Microsoft Office software, medical terminology, database fundamentals, and document imaging software is also often required. Employers prefer workers with problem solving skills, organizational skills, customer service skills, and the ability to multitask.

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Professionals in this field typically work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, hospices, and ambulatory facilities. Duties include data entry and retrieval, in addition to claims processing and data modeling. Health information specialists also assist in maintaining administrative data and maintaining the integrity of records.

As a blanket term, “Health Information Specialists” covers a wide variety of positions, some of which require Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees. The website Indeed.com gives the average salary for Health Information Specialists as between $30,000 and $42,000 a year, depending upon which state you live in. Those who are working in coding positions and entry-level assistants make far less than those with coding certification from AHIMA, the American Health Information Management Association. Workers with a base-level CCA certification from AHIMA earn an average of $37,000 annually. Those hoping to improve their career potential obtain an Associate’s Degree in Health Information Technology and certification as Registered Health Information Technicians through the Commission on the Accreditation of Health Informatics & Information Management, or CAHIIM . Further opportunities are available for those wishing to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in Health Information Management and certification as Registered Health Information Administrators. Professionals with this certification serve as managers and directors of hospital information technology programs, in addition to working in a great variety of other settings, such as legal counsel, HMOs, information technology vendors, education, government, and research.

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