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How Do I Become a Health Information Assistant?

Article Details
  • Written By: D. Nelson
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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People who work as health information assistants are often responsible for collecting and entering the medical data of patients. These professionals commonly work in hospitals, doctors' offices, medical clinics, rehabilitation centers and homes for the elderly and the disabled. Individuals in this profession commonly work in teams with other health information professionals and perform tasks delegated by doctors, nurses and medical administrators. To become a health information assistant, you should earn a two-year associate's degree in a field such as health information or record keeping. In many places, a person who wants to become a health information assistant also needs to earn the proper professional certification, which usually is offered by official health associations.

A person who wants to become a health information assistant must be comfortable learning new kinds of software. Much of this job requires professionals to perform data entry tasks, which must be performed on computers. Many people learn about these programs while they are training to become health information assistants. There are, however, many kinds of medical information programs, so you might have to adapt to new systems after you find a position.

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It also is common for an individual who wants to become a health information assistant to have to understand basic laws regarding the release of medical information. In this position, you might have access to sensitive data. You also might be asked by parties such as insurance representatives, attorneys, law enforcement officials and family members of patients to share this data. It is important that you know when you have to share information and when you are legally obligated to keep information confidential. You should learn this during training, although it is important to keep up with continual changes in laws and policies.

In the health and medical fields, professionals use a special kind of jargon. Specific terms are used to describe insurance policies, medical procedures and medical equipment. In many cases, a person who wants to become a health information assistant must also learn about medical coding. Students might have the opportunity to learn this information during their training, but in other cases, they might have to attend separate courses.

Although health information assistants might not have the same closeness of contact with patients that doctors and nurses do, they many times are the first people to whom patients talk at a healthcare facility. For this reason, a person who wants to become a health information assistant should be able to communicate with people who are sick, upset, worried or badly injured. Some people find that it is difficult to enter data accurately while also tending to individuals who are in difficult situations.

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