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Health IT & QI Workforce Professional Development
Training Programs in Health IT at Colleges
HITEQ Center

Training Programs in Health IT at Colleges

Information about colleges that offer health IT training as of Fall 2016

The following tool provides information about colleges in the United States that offer training in Health Information Technology (HIT) and Health Information Management (HIM).  These are rapidly evolving fields.  For this reason, the list should not be considered comprehensive, but a starting place for your research.   To help you choose a program, consider the following steps:

  • Discuss your career goals with your supervisor.  Learn what types of experience, skills, and certifications you need to be competitive for the jobs you seek.  Determine the type of support you could get from your organization.  This may include flexing your schedule, providing financial support, or continuing your benefits if you have to work part-time to complete the program.
  • Interview someone who has the type of job you are seeking.  Ask them what they like about their job, what they wish was different, where they went to school, and how well that program prepared them for their job.
  • Meet with faculty or advisors of the program you are considering.  Ask them how the program will prepare you for the work you seek, how long the program takes (full-time or part-time, depending on your circumstances), and how much it costs.

At the baccalaureate level, the majority of programs will be called HIM and prepare graduates for careers in health informatics, which is an interdisciplinary field that allows informaticists to design and implement systems to collect data.  Informaticists then analyze the data to help improve population health.

At the community college level there is overlap between HIT and HIM training programs.  Because these programs cannot be distinguished by their name, it is important for prospective students to look for “program goals” or a list of courses.  Use this information when you talk to supervisors and/or others holding the job you are seeking to determine if the program will teach you the skills you need to accomplish your career goals.  When examining the program, a prospective student will find the following two differences to these programs:

Biller and coder – Some HIT or HIM community college programs offer a significant amount of training to prepare graduates to work in the billing and coding field.  Billing and coding courses typically are called ICD Coding or CPT Coding.  Billing and coding professionals perform a variety of functions; traditionally they review medical charts and use computer software to assign services provided to diagnosis-related groups (DRGs).  This work enables the healthcare organization to bill insurance companies.  Many billing and coding programs prepare graduates to become certified as Registered Health Information Technicians offered by the American Health Information Management Association. 

Electronic health record technician – Other community college programs omit the billing and coding coursework and instead include preparation in database design, SQL, statistics, and/or data mining.  This type of preparation can provide graduates with the skills to set up or maintain electronic health record systems, or write queries that answer questions about groups of patients.  Many of these programs prepare graduates to become certified as a Certified Associate in Healthcare Information Management Systems (CAHIMS), Certified Professional in Health Information Technology (CP-HIT), Certified Professional in Electronic Health Records (CP-EHR), or Healthcare IT Technician. 

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Acknowledgements

This resource collection was compiled by the HITEQ staff with portions contributed by Chris Espersen, HITEQ Advisory Committee member and Independent Contractor and Past President of Midwest Clinicians Network; Shane McBride, Independent Contractor and Past Vice President of Quality and Clinical Systems at South End Community Health Center; Chris Grasso, Associate Director for Informatics & Data Services- The Fenway Institute; and Ed Phippen, Principal - Phippen Consulting, LLC.

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