Chattahoochee Tech to offer Health Information Technology
by Mark Andrews
Jul 04, 2011 | 2473 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As federal legislation mandates that all medical records be digitally archived by 2013, Chattahoochee Technical College's North Metro campus is beginning a Health Information Technology associates degree program to meet the needs of a growing job field.

Madeline Shorter-Hall, director of the new health information technology associates degree program, has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 25 years and has been teaching for seven years in the medical billing, coding and consulting field, spending the last four at CTC.

"With the Obama administration, what they've done is they've issued out a substantial amount of grants to help mandate the change from the paper-based [medical] process to the electronic process," Shorter-Hall said. "So on the educational side, we have to educate the students so they can go out and effectively help with the crossover into the electronic process."

She described the job growth opportunities in health information technology as "unreal."

"We intend to have the program started January [2012] and right now we're in the process of constructing it, but we're very excited about this new venture with the program," Shorter-Hall said.

Students currently enrolled at CTC may qualify for the program if they have met the prerequisites, which include Anatomy and Physiology courses.

She said some of the positions available for graduates include health information director, technician coordinator and coder, data integrity specialist and positions in hospital information systems and there are opportunities for bachelors' and masters' programs.

"There's an array of positions [graduates] can actually apply for," Shorter-Hall said.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, "Employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase by 20 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations through 2018."

"The job growth is going to be phenomenal," Shorter-Hall said.

Shorter-Hall referenced the American Health Information Management Association, which reports at www.hicareers.com that someone with an associate's degree in health information technology can earn up to $52,771 annually.

"[The paper to electronic process] is a situation that's growing and a lot of colleges have been adopting this setup because of the crisis and also because of the opportunity that's out there," Shorter-Hall said. "What's happening is as they continue to implement the change from the paper process to the electronic process, there's new positions that are going to continue to open because there's going to be new opportunities so in that respect the job market is going to continue to increase tremendously."