A health information specialist is a professional who organizes patients’ information, such as their medical histories and the results of medical examinations. These types of individuals also have to make sure that this information is accurate and protected from viewing by unauthorized individuals. A person who seeks to become a health information specialist must complete at least two years of college education, as well as practice industry procedures in the field.
If you would like to become a health information specialist, you must complete an associate's degree program in health information management. Before you can enroll in this type of training program, you have to provide a copy of your high school diploma or the equivalent certification along with a completed admissions application. Schools additionally might require you to show your scores on past standardized tests or to complete a college entrance exam to determine your readiness for college courses.
While in a health information training program, you should take basic healthcare field courses. For instance, you have to complete a class on anatomy and physiology, as well as medical terminology. Even though you typically will work in an organization’s front office setting when dealing with health information, you constantly interact with patients who experience various medical problems, as well as the doctors who diagnose their conditions. In order to understand the treatments that your company’s patients receive, you should have a basic knowledge of health terms and how the body functions.
A health information technician college program also addresses several areas related to healthcare data. You should study health insurance coding strategies so that companies receive payment for procedures, how to keep databases secure from intrusion, and how to read and interpret medical statistics to track health-related trends. To do this, you must have a solid understanding of how computers work and be able to master industry software for storing patient information. A person who wants to become a health information specialist also needs to master an understanding of the various laws that relate to health information privacy.
An aspiring health information professional can complete an internship in the field to improve his or her practical industry knowledge. While performing an internship, you should get hands-on experience with mastering healthcare reimbursement methods and helping an organization improve its way of storing patient data. Internships are available at sites such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, and outpatient care centers. Your school training and internship experience will not only make you attractive to potential employers, but also will qualify you to seek certification in this field, which many employers prefer as well.