Louisiana Health Informatics
Health Informatics professionals are in high demand in Louisiana. This field combines health care, information technology, and computer science in the collection, modeling, and study of medical information. Jobs in this field vary greatly, from educational settings to jobs in government, legal counsel, insurance companies, prisons, emergency facilities, and research positions. Professionals in this field typically work “behind the scenes” in healthcare, ensuring the integrity of medical practices.
Louisiana Health Informatics Jobs
Ideal candidates for work in Health Informatics have strong communication skills and an aptitude for biology and computer technology. It is an excellent field for both recent high school graduates and adults desiring a career change. The job outlook is excellent, with a projected growth of 20% from 2008-2018. In Louisiana, health informatics workers find jobs with the largest hospitals in the state, such as Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and CHRISTUS Shumpert St. Mary Place. Entry level positions in medical coding at these hospitals require only a high school diploma.
Health Informatics Education & Certification Requirements in Louisiana
The entry-level positions in coding require a certificate, while most Information Technician jobs require an Associate’s Degree in Health Information Technology and some also require certification as Registered Health Information Technicians, or RHIT. The certification is given by CAHIIM , the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics & Information Management. Some employers consider certification by CAHIIM to be more important than a program degree for advancement in this field. Only professionals certified by CAHIIM are eligible to join the Louisiana chapter of AHIMA, the American Health Information Management Association. Louisiana AHIMA provides a network for top professionals to share information and job listings. For more information, visit the Louisiana AHIMA website, http://lhima.org/rt1/.
Louisiana Health Informatics Degrees
In Louisiana, Associate’s Degrees in Health Information Technology are offered by Delgado Community College (New Orleans), Louisiana Tech University (Ruston), and Southern University at Shreveport to name just a few. Each of these programs focuses on essential skills of the field, beginning with studies of communication, biology, human anatomy & physiology, and basic computer science. Program courses cover coding, data analysis, pharmacology, pathophysiology, legal aspects of healthcare, and reimbursement procedures. All students must complete an internship prior to graduation.
At the Bachelor’s Degree level, Lafayette University and Louisiana Tech University both offer approved Health Information Management programs. Both programs prepare students for the managerial and human resource aspects of health information technology, as well as covering further legal aspects of healthcare and advanced data-modeling techniques. Louisiana Tech University also offers a program to allow students who received their Associate’s Degree and certification as RHIT to progress to RHIA certification. This program offers condensed courses in an online format, ideal for technicians already employed in the field. Lafayette University program graduates pass the RHIA examination at a higher rate than the national average. The Health Information Administration program is part of their Louisiana Center for Health Informatics, created in 1999 to improve public health in Louisiana.
At the Master’s level, only Louisiana Tech University offers a CAHIIM certified Masters of Health Information Management program. Master’s programs in this field prepare workers for executive managerial positions in hospitals and companies. Lafayette University is also developing their own master’s program, which will soon be available. There are also other masters in health information systems programs available in Louisiana that are not CAHIIM certified as well as a number of online programs options to choose from.
Health Information Systems Salary – Louisiana
Louisiana RHIT (registered health info techs) earn an average of $13.73 per hour, or $28,550 annually. The professionals with years of experience earn up to $21.15 hourly, or about $44,000 a year. RHIT’s in Louisiana find jobs with the state’s major hospitals, such as Ochsner Medical Center, Louisiana State University Hospitals, Christus Health System, and Willis-Knighton Health System. RHIA’s (registered health information administrators) in Louisiana earn an average of $36.113 an hour, or about $75,000 annually. Professionals in the top ten percent of the field earn up to $52.96 hourly, or about $110,000 a year.
*Salary Data: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Earnings Statistics