Health Information Technology (AAS)

Application Code: 
1969
Degree Received: 
Associate in Applied Science (AAS)
Academic Department Info: 
Program Coordinator: 
Tracy Locke, MS, RHIA
Coordinator Email: 
locketf@alfredstate.edu
Description: 

online imageThis program is taught online.

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 has offered traditional HIT courses on-campus since 1968 and has offered online courses since 1999.

HIT professionals are responsible for maintaining components of health information systems consistent with the 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.

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.

Mission

The Health Information Technology program, an online program leading to the Associate in Applied Science degree, provides career-focused education to produce job-and transfer-ready health information management graduates.

Student Learning Outcomes: 

Graduates of the Alfred State HIT program will be able to perform the functions of entry-level health information technicians. The program student learning outcomes are as follows:

  • PSLO 1- Apply biomedical knowledge (including medical terminology, anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, and pharmacology) to apply diagnosis/procedure codes (ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS, CPT, and HCPCS level II according to current nomenclature.
  • PSLO 2 - Use established federal guidelines, accreditation standards, and APC and DRG calculator/grouper software to comply with healthcare documentation (review), reimbursement, and reporting requirements.
  • PSLO 3 - Apply HIM knowledge as defined by organizational policy and external regulations (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid, managed care) and standards to maintain the accuracy and completeness of the patient record.
  • PSLO 4 - Apply HIM knowledge of policies and procedures for confidentiality and security measures regarding the access and disclosure of protected health information (PHI) to authorized users.
  • PSLO 5 - Apply HIM knowledge in the collection, maintenance, and reporting of data for clinical indices/databases/registries to meet specific organizational and regulatory needs for the purposes of medical research and education.
  • PSLO 6 - Organize and present data for quality management, utilization management, risk management, and other related studies.
  • PSLO 7 - Apply HIM knowledge of legal, ethical, accreditation and certification standards as appropriate for the management of patient information.
  • PSLO 8 - Apply basic methods when calculating descriptive, institutional, and healthcare vital statistics.
  • PSLO 9 - Apply the use of common software applications (e.g., spreadsheets, databases, word processing, graphics, presentation, email, and so on) and HIM-related software applications (e.g., release of information, electronic health record, patient record abstracting, and so on).
  • PSLO 10 - Apply HIM knowledge to promote ethical standards of practice to health information management and coding.
  • PSLO 11 - Demonstrate effective written and oral communication as appropriate to health information management and coding practices. Communicate effectively with consumers, providers, and other healthcare professionals.
  • PSLO 12 - Demonstrate critical thinking to problem solving and reasoning skills to health information management and coding practices.
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 student’s home.

Accreditation/Certification: 

CAHIM Acredited SealThe health information technology program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Contact CAHIIM, 233 N Michigan Ave, 21st Floor, Chicago, IL 60601-5800 or (312) 233-1100. 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 19104-2680, (215) 662-5600.

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-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: 
  • Prepares graduates for certification as a Registered Health Information Technician
  • Accredited nationally by the Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs in cooperation with the American Health Information Management Association’s Council on Accreditation
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.

Graduation Requirements: 

HIT students are required to earn a grade of at least a "C" or better in each BIOL and MEDR prefix courses prior to placement in the PPEs. Students must also earn a grade of at least "C" in all BIOL, MEDR, COMP 1503, and BUAD 3153 courses to graduate from the HIT program.

Should a student fail MEDR or BIOL courses a second time: They may re-take MEDR and/or BIOL courses as a continuing education student. Then, upon successful completion with a "C" or better, students can apply for readmission to the HIT program. Or, students may re-take the BIOL/MEDR equivalent courses on-campus at Alfred State or at another college after first obtaining pre-approval of the course for transfer credit and then earning a grade of "C" or better.

Career Opportunities: 
  • Hospitals
  • State and Federal Agencies
  • Clinics and Physicians' Offices
  • Law/Computer Firms
  • Insurance Companies
  • Consultant
  • Software Companies
Direct Entry Into Baccalaureate Degree Program: 

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

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, Pennsylvania College of Technology, and University of Cincinnati.

Typical Semester Layout: 
First Semestercredits
BIOL1114Human A&P I4
COMP1503Freshman Composition3
MEDR1114Intro to Health Info Mgt4
MEDR1132Essentials of Pharmacology2
MEDR1133Medical Terminology3
   16
Second Semestercredits
BIOL2214Human A&P II4
BIOL4403Pathophysiology3
MEDR1223Health Data Management3
MEDR1244CPT & HCPCS Level II Coding4
MEDR1234ICD-10-CM, PCS Coding4
   18
Third Semestercredits
MEDR3114Electronic Health Record Mgmt4
MEDR3414Quality Mgmt & Legal Aspects of HIM4
SOCI1163General Sociology OR 
PSYC1013General Psychology3
SPCH1083Effective Speaking3
LITR2603Introduction to Literature OR 
LITR2343Children's Literature OR 
SPAN1203Spanish I3
HPED1111Health & Wellness1
   18
Fourth Semestercredits
HIST2153American History II OR 
MATH1033College Algebra3
MEDR4214Insurance & Reimbursement Proc4
BUAD3153Fundamentals of Mgt3
MEDR4514Alternate Care HIM4
   14
Summer Programcredits
MEDR4312Intro to HIM PPE2
MEDR4322Coding PPE2
MEDR4111Health Information Technology Seminar1
   5

CISY 1003 (introduction to microcomputers) may be taken in the first semester as an elective.

MEDR 2614 (advanced coding & reimbursement) may be taken in the last semester as an elective.

Part-time students are required to take their general education courses prior to MEDR courses.

Employment and Transfer Rate: 
96%
Employment and Transfer Survey Details: 

RHIT Exam pass rate: 100% (students who take the exam within one year of graduation)

Survey Details201020112012
Receiving Degrees161933
Responding to Survey11 (69%)13 (68%)26 (79%)
Employed11 (100%)12 (92%)24 (92%)
Employed in Field11 (100%)12 (92%)20 (83%)
Transferred--1 (8%)1 (4%)
Unemployed & Seeking Employment----1 (4%)
Unemployed & Not Seeking Employment------
Employment and Transfer Salary Information: 

$20,000 - $29,999 (2)
$30,000 - $39,999 (5)
$40,000 - $49,999 (2)
$60,000 - $69,999 (1)
Prefer not to disclose (14)