Health Information Technology

AAS Degree – Code #1969

Tracy Locke MS, RHIA, Program Director

Email address: LockeTF@alfredstate.edu

Alfred State offers an online Associate of Applied Science in health information technology (HIT) which combines a profession in health care with information technology. Alfred State is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, (215) 662-5606. The HIT program is accredited by the Commission of Health Information and Informatics Management (CAHIIM), c/o AHIMA, 233 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 2150, Chicago, IL 60601-5800 or 312/233-1131 or visit www.cahiim.org.

Alfred State has offered traditional HIT courses on campus since 1968 and has offered the Internet based since 1999.

HIT professionals are responsible for maintaining components of health information systems consistent with medical, legal, accreditation, and regulatory requirements of the health care delivery system, maintain, collect, and analyze data crucial to the delivery of quality patient care. The HIT professional compiles and reports health information data for reimbursement, facility planning, marketing, risk management, utilization management, quality management and research; abstracts and codes clinical data using appropriate classification systems; and analyzes health records according to standards and regulations.

HIT professionals play a key role in the planning, implementation, and management of the electronic health record (EHR). HIT professionals are educated in the leadership and management of health information. Health information management includes paper, scanned, or electronic formats. The HIT professional is knowledgeable in electronic health record/electronic medical record (EHR/EMR), health information exchange (HIE), regional health information organizations (RHIOs), and the legal health record.

HIT professionals are the custodians of health information. The HIT professional's primary function is to make sure that all the medical information collected about an individual is complete, accurate, and protected, while, at the same time, readily available for healthcare providers when it is needed.

PROGRAM STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES

DIRECT ENTRY INTO BACCALAUREATE DEGREE PROGRAM

Alfred State health information technology graduates may enter directly into the technology management BBA degree program.

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE EXPERIENCES

Students complete non-paid professional practice experiences (PPEs) in the Health Information program of an acute care facility (160 hours). PPE arrangements are made in consultation with each student so that convenient locations are selected. Students are not a substitute for paid staff during PPEs, which means they are expected to receive appropriate supervision and mentoring during completion of all tasks.

The Joint Commission Hospital Accreditation Standards Manual requires hospitals to implement “a process to ensure that a person’s qualifications are consistent with his/her job responsibilities.” This standard “applies to staff, students, and volunteers,” and it further states the hospital is responsible for verifying “the following according to law, regulation, or hospital policy: information on criminal background.” As such, Alfred State students who complete PPEs in the HIT technology program may be required to undergo a criminal background check prior to placement at the facility. In addition, the facility may require students to undergo a physical examination (on-site at the facility or by the student’s primary care provider) prior to beginning the professional practice experience. The physical examination includes drug screening, a TB test, and/or DTB, hepatitis B, and/or MMRV immunization or status. Students may be required to incur costs associated with the criminal background check and/or physical examination.

Once a PPE placement has been arranged, students are expected to contact the professional practice supervisor to arrange a schedule for attendance. Students may be required to attend an on-site orientation at the professional practice facility, which could be several days in length.

ARTICULATION AGREEMENTS

One-plus-one transfer agreements exist between Alfred State and Corning, Jamestown, Genesee, and American Somoa Community Colleges; students complete their first year of study at the local community college and transfer to Alfred State for their second year. Transfer is guaranteed if a student successfully completes the prescribed first-year schedule of courses with a 2.0 cumulative index.

TRANSFER OPPORTUNITIES

Although not limited to these schools, common transfer institutions for HIT bachelor degree programs include SUNY College of Technology at Utica/Rome, Stephens College, St. Scholastica, Regis University, and University of Cincinnati.

OCCUPATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS

Employment and transfer rate of 100 percent – 87 percent are employed; 13 percent transferred to continue their education.

ACCREDITATION/CERTIFICATION

The health information technology program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Contact CAHIIM, c/o AHIMA, 233 N Michigan Ave, Suite 2150, Chicago, IL 60601-5800 or (312) 233-1131. Visit their Web site at http://www.cahiim.org.

Alfred State is also accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19104, (215) 662-5606.

Graduates are eligible to take the national certification examination to become a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). Since 1968, when the program was created, Alfred State HIT graduates have traditionally achieved a passing rate above the national average.

Graduates are also eligible to take the Certified Coding Specialist (CCA, CCS and CCS-P) and Certified Professional Coder (CPC, CPC-A, CPC-H-A, CPC-H and CPC-P) exams. It is strongly recommended that students complete technical elective courses in this area of study and work for a minimum of one year as a coder before taking the coding certification exam(s).

FEATURES & FACILITIES

RELATED PROGRAMS

Coding & Reimbursement Specialist

Computer Information Systems

ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS/RECOMMENDATIONS

Required: high school biology or equivalent

Must be able to visually read computer monitor.

Must be able to use keyboard and mouse.

Recommended: Keyboarding, MS Office Professional

Must be able to attend Professional Practice Experience (PPE) courses including 160 hours at a health care facility within reasonable driving/travel distance to their home.