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Health Information Technology Graduates Achieve 100 Percent Pass Rate
Graduates of Alfred State College's Internet-based health information technology (HIT) program, Class of 2008, achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) national certification exam. This represents the fifth year since 2000 that graduates achieved a 100 percent pass rate!
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) reports a national pass rate of 73 percent. Tracy Locke, HIT program director, and Michelle A. Green, professor, attribute this achievement to the program's balance of general education and specialized courses, and to the dedication of faculty and students. Graduates also have access to an online RHIT ExamPrep developed by Green, which allows them to practice taking certification exams according to content area.
RHITs are health information technicians who ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems. They may also use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs. RHITs often specialize in assigning diagnoses and procedures codes to inpatient records for reimbursement and research. RHITs may also serve as cancer registrars, compiling and maintaining data on cancer patients.
Although most RHITs work in hospitals, many are employed in a variety of other healthcare settings including office-based physician practices, nursing facilities, home health care agencies, mental health care facilities, and public health agencies. In fact, employment opportunities exist for RHITs in any organization that uses patient data or health information such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, and health product vendors. In addition, with experience, the RHIT credential holds solid potential for advancement to management positions, especially if it is combined with a bachelor's degree.
RHITs can look forward to expanding career opportunities in health information technology. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in its Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008 Edition, projects employment of health information technicians to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through 2016, due to rapid growth in the number of medical tests, treatments, and procedures which will be increasingly scrutinized by third-party payers, regulators, courts, and consumers. Technicians with a strong background in medical coding will be in particularly high demand. Changing government regulations and the growth of managed care have increased the amount of paperwork involved in filing insurance claims. Additionally, health care facilities are having difficulty attracting qualified workers, primarily because of the lack of both formal training programs and sufficient resources to provide on-the-job training for coders. Job opportunities may be especially good for coders employed through temporary help agencies or by professional services firms. Also, technicians will be needed to enter patient information into computer databases to comply with Federal legislation mandating the use of electronic medical records.