Health Informatics in Iowa
In the past fifty years, the health information management field has become one of the fastest-growing careers in America. Health Informatics combines the fields of computer science, information technology, and healthcare. Technicians use the latest computer systems to record, analyze, and model data. Health Informatics professionals are also responsible for protecting patient confidentiality, issuing medical bills and reimbursements, managing hospital administrative data, and maintaining the integrity of records. According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, health informatics has a projected increase of 20% more jobs available from 2008-2018. These jobs are available in Iowa at a diverse array of settings, such as emergency clinics, hospitals, hospice, rehabilitation facilities, prisons, insurance companies, and education.
Certification for Iowa Health Informatics Professionals
The best healthcare technology and management programs are accredited by CAHIIM , the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management. This organization also provides certification via examination for Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) and Registered Health Information Administrators (RHIA). In the field of Health Informatics, these professional certifications can be more important than academic degrees. CAHIIM certified professionals potentially have a stronger career outlook in Iowa than other health information technology workers, partially due to the advantages of membership in AHIMA, the American Health Information Management Association. AHIMA members have a connection to other top professionals, plus updates on the latest in IT and access to AHIMA-only job boards. For additional information, see the Iowa chapter’s website at www.iahima.org.
Iowa Health Informatics Degree Options
At the Associate’s Degree level, CAHIIM certified programs are available at Indian Hills Community College, Kirkwood Community College, Northeast Community College, Scott Community College, and Northwest Community College. Kirkwood Community College’s program is completed entirely online, with the exception of the field internship which can be completed at clinics throughout the state. Other programs, such as Indian Hills Community College, offer coursework primarily online with some courses students can elect to take on campus in the general requirements. The coursework of these programs, as per CAHIIM standards, introduce the student to human anatomy and physiology, medical coding, legal practices in the field, reimbursement procedures, and human resource management. Iowa does not have any CAHIIM approved Bachelor’s Degree Health Information Administration programs. However, interested students can enroll in an online informatics program or attend programs in neighboring states at Chicago State University or Illinois University in Illinois, or the College of St. Scholastic in Minnesota. Stephens College, an all-women school in Columbia, Missouri, also offers an approved Bachelor’s program.In addition to these programs, a number of other schools that offer health informatics programs can be found below.
The average RHIT can expect to earn $14.94 hourly, or about $31,000 a year. Professionals in the top 10% of the field earn up to $21.89 hourly, or $45,500 a year. RHIA can expect to earn an average of $37.323 an hour, or $77,600 a year. The experienced professionals in the top 10% of the field earn up to $57.87 hourly, or $120,000 annually.
*Salary Data: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Earnings Statistics