Do I Need to Have an Information Technology Background to Work in Health Information?

Many individuals pursuing careers in health information technology or health information management wonder if they need an information technology background to work in health information. A background in health information is vital to the field to work correctly. Health information is information obtained through a healthcare industry, but it's also obtained through information technology. Learn more about information technology, health information, and how the two are related and connected.

What is Information Technology?

Information technology is the use of computers, networks and storage devices to store, retrieve, sort and process information. Information technology is used in almost every industry in some form. If an employer wants to retrieve information about an employee, the employer may retrieve it from some source in the company's computer system. The employer is utilizing information technology to retrieve the information.

Information technology also allows an individual or company to secure the information by way of encryption or passwords. Information technology is huge in the healthcare industry. Health information would not be as accessible as it is without the help of information technology.

What is Health Information?

Health information is exactly what the name implies. It's information within a healthcare system. Health information is also referred to as health information technology, which relates to the various technology tools used by doctors, nurses, patients, healthcare administrators, government agencies and insurance companies to store, analyze, save and share health information. The purpose of health information technology is so important health information can be shared equally with all medical personnel to provide the best possible care for patients. Electronic health records, electronic prescription services, personal health records and health-related smartphone apps are just a few of the many health information technology tools used in the healthcare system today.

Is Background of Information Technology Required to Work in Health Information?

Despite the fact that information technology is used in every industry and health information is related to healthcare industries, the two are intertwined. It's the actual information technology, which is the use of computers and devices to store health information, that makes it possible to utilize health information to provide good, safe and high-quality healthcare to patients. When a physician orders an X-ray for a patient, that information is recorded on the healthcare system.

The results of the X-ray is also entered into the system so the patient and other medical providers have access to that information. A background of information technology is required to work in health information. An individual may not have the knowledge of information technology prior to working in health care but will obtain it during a health information education program.

Career Outlook

Healthcare professionals working in health information are very much in demand. As more medical facilities continue to rely on electronic medical records, cloud computing and the Internet in general, these professionals will continue to have good career opportunities. Medical records and health information technicians are expected to see an employment growth of 13 percent from 2016-2026 while medical and health services managers should experience a growth of 20 percent as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of May 2017, medical records and health information technicians earned an average annual wage of $42,820, and medical and health services managers earned $111,680.

Related Resource: The 25 Best Associates in Health Information Online Degree Programs for 2018

The field of health information is growing so rapidly, colleges everywhere are offering various types of degree programs in this field as well as in information technology. Because information technology and health information are linked together so closely, there is an abundance of jobs in the healthcare industry.