To keep up with this technology, Valdosta Technical College started a new Health Information Technology program.
Marjorie Ard worked in the healthcare industry for several years. When her job working in home care was outsourced, she enrolled in the college's new HIT program.
"It's designed to get me into the doctor's offices into the hospitals and to look at medical records in a different way than I have been looking at them," said Ard.
She's finishing up her core courses and will transfer into the program in the Spring quarter. She'll then do a practicum with a hospital or physician's office and will become a certified health technician after completing an exam.
"They can work in the clerical part being sure that all the documentation has been performed on the medical record and that everything is completed as it should be,” said Susan Jackson, HIT Instructor. “They can also work in the transcription area. They can work in the coding area."
With changes in the healthcare system the need for health information technicians is growing. Those certified in coding are especially needed in Lowndes and surrounding counties.
Coding is taking health information and changing it to a number which will allow insurance companies to pay their doctors and reimburse the hospital. Paper medical records are being replaced with electronic ones.
"Because of this American Recovery Reinvestment Act and the change coming in health information technology it will be one of the top jobs up until at least 2014 and if not further down the road," said Jackson.
The starting salary for a job in the health information technology field is around $30,000.
Twenty students are in Valdosta Tech's first Health Information Technology class.
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