Do you like using computers and technology? Do you find the medical field interesting, but prefer a medical career that does not involve providing direct patient care? Then a career in Health Information might be for you! Health Information specialists are healthcare professionals who ensure the quality of patient medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems.
Duties of a Health Information Specialist
Health Information Specialists do not provide direct patient care, but instead work regularly with other healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses, and their support staff. They often meet with healthcare providers to clarify diagnoses or get additional information about patient records, ensuring that records are complete and accurate. Health Information specialists organize and manage health information data by ensuring its accuracy, quality, accessibility, and security in paper and electronic software systems. Due to the fact that Health Information specialists have access to large databases of confidential and personal patient information, they need to be extremely responsible and trustworthy individuals.
Health Information specialists use numerous classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance company reimbursement, databases, and registries, while also maintaining patients’ medical treatment histories. Although Health Information specialists do not provide direct patient care, they do need to have formal training from an Accredited Institution such as Arizona College.
An optimal Health Information program should include many of the same subjects as other healthcare programs, such as terminology/pharmacology and biology, in addition to an extensive amount of health information, billing, and coding courses. The Health Information specialist is an extremely well rounded professional that knows the medical side as well as the technical billing and coding side of the healthcare environment.
Health Information specialists perform “behind the scenes” type of work in a healthcare environment. However, their role is just as important as the medical support staff that provides direct patient care. If the medical data is not properly, accurately, efficiently, and securely processed, the office may have a difficult time receiving payment and reimbursement from insurance companies for office visits and procedures that have been performed.
Often, medical billing and coding departments will process medical information for multiple practices; however, opportunities do arise for Health Information Management positions which allow Health Information Technicians to process medical information for a single practice. It is important that a Health Information specialist demonstrates certain qualities to be successful the field.
Examples of important qualities of a health information specialist include:
- Analytical skills – Health Information specialists should have the ability to analyze healthcare data and translate that data into a corresponding code. This is something that Arizona College teaches our students.
- Good Communication Skills -Health Information specialists communicate both verbally and in writing on a daily basis, so it is important for those who choose this career to be able to communicate effectively.
- Knowledge in Information Technology -Electronic Medical Records are becoming more frequently used, and as a result, the use of computer hardware and specialized software programs will be used on a daily basis.” To “programs will be used on a daily basis. Knowledge of this technology will be important for those who choose this career.
- Ability to manage time wisely – Healthcare facilities are fast-paced work environments. When patient data is organized, secure and maintained properly, the physician, nurses, and the healthcare team can see patients faster. Because of this, it is important for Health Information specialists to be able to manage time wisely.
Health Information specialists perform many important tasks on a daily basis.
Examples of commonly performed duties may include:
- Receiving patient forms, medical histories, and test results from medical professionals
- Examining data to ensure it is complete, correct, and accurate
- Confirming patient medical histories
- Confirming test results
- Translating data to corresponding numerical diagnosis codes
- Organizing data using paper or Electronic Medical Records, ensuring that all data is stored securely confidentially, while adhering to governmental regulations.
- Retrieving archived data as needed or as requested by physicians
- Communicating information in a secure and confidential manner
The Health Information field is one of few medical professions that does not provide direct patient care, while still requiring medical knowledge. Health Information specialists take the lead in ensuring that healthcare information systems are up to date, compliant, and promote efficiency throughout the organization.
Examples of exciting Health Information work environments may include:
- General practice / Specialty Doctor’s offices
- Government Agencies
- Nursing and Residential Care Facilities
So, how can you become a Certified Health Information Specialist ? In the state of Arizona, certification is not required to gain employment as a Health Information specialist. However, Arizona College recommends that graduates of our Health Information diploma and degree programs pursue certification as resume enhancement when interviewing for employment. Numerous certification options are available for graduates; please visit the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) website for additional details.
If you are a detail-oriented person, who enjoys working with technology, and is interested in the medical field, then one of our Health Information (Medical Billing and Coding) programs may be for you! Whether you want to change careers or you just want more out of life, Arizona College offers both a Health Information degree and diploma programs that will provide the education and experience needed to become a successful Health Information Technician. For more information on our Health Information programs, complete a form and an Arizona College representative will contact you. Don’t wait another day…contact Arizona College now!