Different Options for a Medical Information Technology Degree

There is a high demand for a medical information technology degree in today’s fast-paced medical field. Candidates can earn a certificate, an Associate’s Degree, a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree or a Ph.D.

They can work in a variety of fields and for those who prefer minimal patient contact while in the medical field, this degree is ideal.

The prerequisites are an understanding of computer technology, great communications skills and an extensive knowledge of medical information.

medical information technology

Medical Information Technology Certification

A certificate program is for those who already have a Bachelor’s Degree in medical, business or technology fields.

The program generally includes coursework on medical terminology, the basics of medical office procedures and technological information flow within the medical field.

There may also be a more centralized focus depending on the program. Some universities also include information on the legal and ethical issues that affect medical practices or network security.

Internships may be required before completion of the certificate.

Associate’s Degree

An Associate’s Degree in medical information technology is usually a two year degree. It includes information on biology, physiology and legal issues for the health care profession.

There will also probably be classes in pharmacology, healthcare coding, disease pathology, supervision and information processing.

These degrees may be attained through a traditional college, online or a hybridization of the two. A research project or an internship may be a part of the graduation requirements as well.

Bachelor’s Degree

This type of degree may take anywhere from two to five years to complete. One of the positive aspects of this type of program in many colleges is the opportunity to take part in a mentorship program.

These mentors help advise students, plot a course sequence, work on research and assist in completing the final project.

Coursework will generally cover ecosystems, technical writing, the history of public health, problem solving and information privacy protection.

There may also be a need for some different professional IT certifications within these programs.

Post-Graduate Degree

Candidates can continue their education through a medical information technology degree Master’s program.

This type of program usually focuses on research and innovation. Classes will focus on the emerging healthcare technology trends and the social and scientific issues that affect it.

Other classes may include pathophysiology, consumer protection, biostatics and current medical records regulations.

A master’s degree program can help shape the medical information technology field for future generations.

Graduates of these programs will enjoy coordinating patient health information including symptoms, medical history, examination details, diagnostic testing and treatments.

All information should be accurate, accessible and secure so that health care professionals can utilize that information to determine a diagnosis or to obtain more information.

As this field continues to grow, there will be additional job duties for medical information technology experts.

They will need to maintain software, update security and analyze all electronic data to improve health care information.

Where to Find Medical Information Technology Jobs

The medical industry is one of the top places to find a job in today’s difficult market. However, some people do not like dealing with direct patient care. This does not need to rule out a field in medicine though.

There are medical information technology jobs that allow workers to share their knowledge with physicians and other healthcare workers through their computer skills and communication abilities.

medical information technology

How Hospitals are Utilizing Information Technology

One of the top places for those in medical information technology jobs to work is in hospitals.

This holds enormous potential to create a higher quality health care system for patients. Hospitals use this technology to collect, store, retrieve and transfer information electronically.

Another use for medical information technology is the currently under-used e-prescription technology.

This creates an environment where patients are more likely to receive a timely diagnosis and quality medical intervention with fewer errors and better communication.

Working for the Government

Another frequent employer for medical information technology jobs is the government.

The government hopes to use these jobs to make the health care system more efficient and reduce the amount of physical paperwork that doctors and patients currently need.

It should also expand access to affordable healthcare, making it easier to provide a more cost-effective national healthcare program.

Making Nursing Homes Safer

Medical information technology jobs in nursing homes help protect patients and doctors from potentially fatal mistakes.

Because the elderly are frequently on many different types of medication, they often face the possibility of drug interactions or overdoses in medication.

The use of computers in this setting allows the medical staff to enter clinical findings directly into a computer system even from the bedside of the patient.

This ensures that there are fewer mistakes. It can also warn when there is a problem before a critical error is made.

Private Practices

Private medical practices are also embracing medical information technology jobs.

While there are still many software issues with electronic health records, there are also several excellent options available. Currently, only 10% of medical practices utilize electronic medical records.

However, these numbers will only continue to grow as physicians work to decrease their expenses.

Patients are also beginning to demand access to their information and those who adapt these technologies will become the service providers of choice.

Medical information technology jobs are expected to grow more than 20% in the next several years.

This is one of the fastest growing fields available in a dynamic, exciting field.

In addition, this career path will continue to change and develop rapidly as technology grows and adapts to healthcare needs.

Candidates do not need to interact directly with patients but should have strong computer science skills and the ability to communicate with others easily.

With those credentials, they will be able to find a job in almost any medical setting.

Medical Information Technology Salary

Location can make a Difference in a Medical Information Technology Salary

There are many places to work in the medical information technology field, and as in real estate; location is the key to the highest dollars.

This is a fast-paced growing field, so whatever type of medical information technology you decide to pursue, there will probably be a job opportunity.

An interest in computer science, medical knowledge, and excellent communication skills are all that is necessary to get started.

medical information technology

Government Work

The highest place for a medical information technology salary is within the federal government.

The average salary for these workers is nearly $43,000 with full benefits. Government jobs are also in high demand with the future-mandated federal health care program in progress.

These workers will be in charge of meeting the need for electronic delivery of records, prescriptions, billing and more.

They are also working towards a universal system that makes records interoperable so that information can be readily shared.

Working in Hospitals

The medical information technology salary for hospitals averages $33,000. Hospitals are the number one employer for these information technology specialists.

By incorporating this trend, hospitals are able to track patient records and medications. This decreases errors and prevents potentially fatal mistakes.

Yet there are still privacy issues to be addressed in this ever-changing field.

This will be one of the issues that will need to be addressed by those who choose to go into hospital information technology.

Taking Care of the Elderly

A nursing home medical information technology salary averages $30,500. Nursing home care is particularly critical due to the high rate of medical problems with this demographic.

By keeping electronic records, there is less chance of medical overdoses or drug interactions.

Physicians can also easily call in e-prescriptions and view what other medical care has been previously tried before deciding upon a course of action for the patient.

In addition, disease progression can be carefully monitored and a treatment plan can be developed that can be coordinated with other health care professionals.

Working in a Doctor’s Office

A doctor’s office is generally the lowest paying medical information technology salary averaging $26,000. Only 10 percent of physicians currently employee a medical information technology specialist.

However, this number is only expected to grow as more physicians begin to see the value of an electronic record system.

In fact, the U.S. is far behind other developed countries in incorporating this into the medical community.

Soon all records will be paperless and all doctors’ offices will have easily accessible medical records.

This field will continue to grow exponentially as more patients demand an easy way to get their information and share it with other medical professionals.

This field is highly demanding, but there is potential for growth. In addition, there are several degree programs that can increase earning potential.

Almost any medical office has the need for a medical information technology professional and the job outlook should only continue to improve in the future.

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