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Career Profile: Health Information Technician

Why Is Health Information Technology a Job of Tomorrow?
People are seeing doctors more frequently and consequently, the amount of paperwork and data on each individual patient can get overwhelming. Health information technicians will be needed to handle the important task of keeping patient records updated and accurate to ensure that efficient treatments are performed and to reduce the chance of hospital error. Employment opportunities for health information technicians are expected to increase 18 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary for health information technicians is $28,030.

What Does a Health Information Technician Do?
Health information technicians are responsible for maintaining patient records. These records are immensely valuable to health care practitioners, as they contain the patient's medical history. All of the patient's prior visits to the health care facility are documented, including the reason for the appointment, the outcome of the exam and the result of prescribed treatment plans. Also included are previous lab results, X-rays and examination results, as all of these factors should be considered when creating new treatment plans for patients. There is a lot of information in every patient's file, and health information technicians make sure it all stays organized and accurate so that future physicians may consult it. Some health information technicians are trained in medical coding, which is useful for insurance purposes. Many technicians who have coding knowledge are paid better and are more marketable.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Health Information Technician?
Health information technicians typically hold an associate degree in health care from an accredited program. These health information technology programs take two years to complete, and cover topics such as anatomy and medical terminology. After completing this schooling, many graduates take an examination to become a registered health information technician. Most employers prefer to hire applicants who have been certified, as it shows a passion for the field and dedication to studying and working.