Missouri Health Informatics
Health Informatics Job Description
As the state of Missouri continues its march into the future, the health care market is doing its best to stay in stride. The continual implementation of newer and faster technology is taking medicine in an exciting new direction, fraught with opportunities for computer savvy individuals. An entirely new profession, in fact, has arisen from the ever-increasing use of digital record keeping in the medical world. Known as Health Informatics, this fledgling field is attracting some of the Missouri’s brightest students.
In the main, Health Informatics technicians are tasked with the collection, storage, and proper distribution of confidential medical data. Employers place a high prize on these workers, thanks to their adherence to the ethical and legal rigors of their discipline. Versatility is another part of the Health Informatics allure. Certified members of the field can find work in all manner of places, from health care institutions to college campuses to large corporations. The future of medicine will require nearly every major employer to keep several such employees on staff.
Missouri Education Requirements for RHIT’s and RHIA’s
There are two tiers of achievement in the Health Informatics field. The easiest title to obtain is that of Registered Health Information Technician, or RHIT, which can be earned by completing a two-year Associate’s degree. For those seeking more academic polish, there are also four-year Bachelor’s degrees available. Students who follow this road will receive the title of Registered Health Information Administrator, or RHIA.
At each of these levels, health informatics certification comes from a single source – the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management. Usually referred to as CAHIIM , this governing body oversees the curricula of colleges across the nation. Only those measuring up to their strict academic standards are allowed to bestow the titles of RHIT and RHIA upon their graduates. This exclusivity has created a high demand for CAHIIM-approved candidates, boosting job placement rates to amazingly high levels.
Health Informatics Salaries in Missouri
Demand, of course, is the primary influence on an occupation’s pay grade. For those entering the Health Informatics fold, there are few better places than Missouri. As of May 2009 , the state’s 4,050 RHIT’s and RHIA’s in MO took home an average of $31,630 each year, with hourly pay weighing in at $15.21. Wages for fresh recruits start around $11.61 per hour, with an annual gross of just over $24,000. Industry veterans can expect to command much higher compensation, with hourly rates climbing to $22.61 and annual earnings topping $47,000.
*Salary Data: Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Earnings Statistics
But before they can earn the big bucks, aspiring Health Informatics technicians must complete the required college courses. Missouri’s student body has six separate institutions to choose from, including four RHIT-certified programs. There are also a pair of Bachelor’s degree programs, hosted by Saint Louis University and Stephens College. There are a variety of educational options available, with some of the state’s colleges offering the majority of their courses online. This makes earning a college degree much easier for those with a long list of responsibilities.
All members of the Health Informatics field, regardless of education or income level, are encouraged to join the American Health Information Management Association. Called AHIMA for short, this group has dedicated themselves to bettering the lives of the professionals they oversee. They’ve accomplished this by offering updates on the latest technological developments in the industry, thereby keeping their members in the loop. AHIMA also maintains a regularly updated job board, which will help even the greenest graduates land their first professional gig. For more information, check out their website at www.ahima.org.