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Health Information Technician

Career Overview

Health information technicians coordinate the medical data developed for each patient. Charts, X-rays, lab results, diagnoses and procedures are all recorded in a patient's record. It is the job of the health information technician to make sure the records are complete. Some health technicians work as health information coders, a procedure used in filling out health insurance forms. In large facilities, a health information technician may specialize in other areas such as cance registry. This aspect of the job involves recording every cancer diagnosis and then maintaining a complete record of treatment, relying on their knowledge of the disease.

Education

Generally an associate's degree in health information is required for this profession. The two year degree program includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, legal aspects of health information, health data standards, coding and abstraction of data, statistics and database management. Health information technicians must be familiar with the software used in maintaining health information records. There is a national certification exam offered by the American Health Information Management Association; certification is often important to prospective employers.

Employment

The U.S. Labor Department's survey of 2006 found about 170,000 health information technologists working in the United States. Forty percent of them worked in hospitals; others were employed by large medical groups, insurance companies and regulators.

Job Outlook

This profession is expected to grow more quickly than the projected overall pace for all jobs. New tests and treatment procedures will make medicine more complex, while health providers and insurance companies will insist on more voluminous records.

Salary

Lowest 10% $20,440

Median Salary $30,610

Highest 10% $50,060

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