Majors in Focus – Health Information Technology


Majors in Focus. Health Information Technology Hi! Happy Tuesday. Welcome back to our
majors and focus series. If you guys didn’t watch last week or maybe forgot I am Rachel Nisbet and I’m a current student here at Miami University
Regionals. I’m here today with Donna Evans and we’re going to talk about the
Health Information Technology major. Hi Rachel. Thanks for that introduction. My
name is Donna Evans, I’m a senior lecturer in the Computer and Information
Technology department here on the Regional campuses of Miami University. I also serve as the Chief Departmental advisor for Computer Information Technology students, so that would be health IT students and regular IT students as well. So, a little bit about my academic background. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business and my majors were in Marketing and Finance, and my graduate degree is in Management Information Systems. So, I’ve enjoyed working with computers for a long time. In addition to that I have professional
certifications in Health Information Technology. I’m considered a CP hemes,
which means I’m a certified professional in Health Information Technology. I’m
also a senior member of hemes, and uhm we enjoy studying IT and Health. So, a little bit about the courses that I teach, I teach Ethics in Technology, I teach
Health Information Technology I teach Global IT Strategies, I teach
Human-Computer Interaction among other things. So, one of the things that uhm, a
question that I often get is what is the difference between Computer Science and Information Technology and I want to talk about that a minute before we talk about the difference between IT and Health IT. Okay, that’ll be good. So, Computer Science, we have a Computer Science department at Miami University it’s in Oxford. And many years ago some of their professors came over to the Regional campuses and they started the Computer Information Technology department. So, in the Computer Information Technology department we offer associate and bachelor degrees. We
teach some of the computer science courses, we’re still closely connected
with that department. So, if you’re a student and you’re not sure whether you want computer science or information technology, it really depends on how
theoretical you want to be and how much math you want to do. So, that’s really the
difference between computer science and information technology. That’s great, I didn’t know that. So, how would you say that Health Information Technology is different from Information Technology? That’s a great question, and I’m glad you asked that. And so what I’m going to do again, is I’m going to give
you a little bit of background so you understand how that evolved. Okay So in 2012, we decided to create a Health Information Technology degree and it was our first degree that was at the Bachelor level in our department. So, we didn’t want to just create a degree we wanted to make sure that it was meaningful and employable, so we went out and talked to industry leaders and said
“What what will you hire?” “What do you want?” and then we took that information, and we
came back and put it into coursework, and that became our Health Information
Technology degree. And it’s been very successful. So, in addition to that we decided to create an Information Technology degree. So, what we did is, we separated out some of the health courses and so that’s how the IT degree came along afterwards. So, to answer your question the Health IT degree is different
because you would have more courses like anatomy and physiology and a lot of
those courses just fit in your liberal education. So, they’re not necessarily
extra, it’s just that you choose your electives carefully. Okay So, if you think about some nursing courses, some courses that would be medical terminology, things
like that. And so for a little bit of background to tell you about the employment of the Health Information Technology degree. When we did this
research, what we found out is that since hospitals, medical professionals, had to
install all the software that wasn’t really what they wanted to do, they were
clinical staff. So, the idea was you would bring in Information Technology people,
but what they found out is Information Technology people couldn’t, often, were
not effective in that area, because they weren’t sensitive to the culture, they
didn’t understand the industry, they didn’t understand how it was regulated.
So, our idea which has been successful and we’re one of the few people that
offer this at the Bachelors degree level, was to help students become more aware
of the sort of the culture of the business regulation but they don’t lose any of the IT pieces. So, they can come into Health IT sensitive to what the needs are, but still bring that strength of IT. Okay, that’s great. So, is that kind of what draws students
to pursue this major, is maybe more of the health side of the IT field? That’s a great question. That’s a great question, because there’s so many entry points why
someone would be interested in this degree. Sometimes we have students who
want the Health IT degree because they know IT students typically do very well
in the employment market, and much of the hiring an IT is in the health space. So,
if you want to get a great job sometimes people do IT and then sort of the highly
compensated under that can be in Health IT. So, sometimes it’s simply looking at
your future career. Other people have a passion to want to help people. If they
like IT so they can put that passion to help someone and use their quantitative
IT skills like with that. So, we also get a well we get many groups of people, and
one group of people we get, might be people who started in the nursing
program and find out they would really be more comfortable working on the IT
side rather than working with actual patient care, and sometimes you don’t
know that you’ve been in the program for a while. We also have people who perhaps
are nurses, clinical staff, who want to be promoted, and one of the ways they can do
that is to really leverage what they already know and add some IT to it. So
we’ve had people with master’s degrees come back and take the Health IT program
at the Bachelor level and have done really well in their career. And so some
of the reasons that people might be passionate about Health IT, as we say
that the healthcare industry is a system that’s in need of healing. It’s broken,
it’s sick. If you’ve been to the hospital or any of those places with
your family, you know that there’s a lot of improvements we can make. And so I
have some statistics I wanted to share with you. That’d be be great. So, did you realize that 200,000 people die each year because of medical mistakes? That, that’s, a lot. That’s something that Health IT can help with. People are living longer, we have an aging population, and they’re going to need care. We have budget
constraints, we can’t spend more money . So the idea, if you can effectively and efficiently deliver that care, that’s really a great service
to other people. So, you ask why someone would be interested in health IT? So, if
you like IT and you want to serve other people that that’s a great way to put
that together. That’s a great connection, I really like that.
So, you talked about some of the courses that you teach, is this program offered
online or can you do a mix of online classes and in-person classes? So right now, the courses are online and in-person and to be clear not every course is online. But it’s our goal to move forward and to eventually have the entire program put online. Oh wow. So, we’re working through that right now, so right now it’s a mix and going to fully online. But some of the courses that you might take as a
Health IT student, that a IT student would not take, I wanted to mention those. Okay That would be anatomy and physiology, right, because you have to understand the body part. Yeah There’s genetics, you have to understand that. Medical terminology, heredity, healthcare systems, health IT
and our students actually use electronic health records, so when they’re done
they’ve had that experience. So, there’s a lot of opportunities for our students. That’s great. Uhm, so after graduation what kind of jobs would a person get in the Health Information Technology major? So that’s a great question, because sometimes people want to Google and look at terms that
they’re familiar with. This is, this is a new industry, and we’re still learning,
we’re still figuring it out. So, sometimes the words and the titles are just sort
of evolving as we go on. So, to answer your question some of the jobs that you
might be looking at could be with a hospital, an insurance company, an
educational institution, a hardware and software company. Some people really like
the, the more computer science IT piece, where they want to do some programming.
Some people want to work with hardware, some people work with people as a
business analyst, uou know developing requirements. Some people work in a
regulatory environment, this is a heavily regulated industry in terms of the
government, so you have to be very careful how you
report statistics. So there’s a lot of big, big thinking. That’s awesome. Uhm, so you talked about some of the like, again going back to courses, so I took a
coding class could you maybe and I and fellow students in there were a HIT
majors, so could you explain maybe a bit more of what the IT classes would be like?
Because you talked about like the anatomy and physiology, but are there like certain IT
classes that we would have to take? So, Health IT students take virtually all
the same technology courses that an IT student would take. Okay So, we would begin with
tools and techniques, you would do some programming, you would work with some
systems analysis, some project management you would work with security, you would
work with information retrieval. Students have an option, they could also take more networking courses and networking in the sense of network security. So this is
fascinating in the Health IT industry, they have really been a little bit
behind the times in securing documents, so the idea that somebody could break
into your electronic health record is a major concern. Yeah So hospitals in particular, and software companies are very interested in finding students who
not only know Health IT, but also know network security. That’s a very important
and we have really great support from a national and a local organization called
hymns, and the hymns is the, they sort of create the standards for health IT and
so many people are interested in this our last conference had 45,000 people, so this is a big market with big opportunities. Yeah wow. Our local organization that were
heavily involved in, students go for a full day conference for professional
development. They’re eligible for scholarships, for internships and we go
as a class we a lot of fun. That’s awesome. I’m sorry I just wanted to see how much
time we had left. Sure Uhm so you just talked about the hymns, and maybe like the internship and scholarship thing, is there opportunity for students to do
internships in this area? Absolutely, there are opportunities for students to do internships and I really encourage them to do that because what employers really
like is actual experience. Yeah So we have opportunities that are available through Miami University, we have opportunities that are available that our department
is made aware of, as the advisor those’s often come through me. so if some people want to know, you know please please contact me. And some of the organizations that we affiliate
with as well. And uhm, also our alumni we’re at the point now we’ve had enough
graduates that students are on their second or their third job they’re
helping each other to network. So, students have done things like, they work for a software company called Epic where their trainers and they’ve moved around. We’ve had two people go into the department defense, and work on their electronic health records and we had one graduate who was really an expert in
networks, and took the Health IT degree and he’s what they call a medical device
integrator and they buy very expensive medical devices and he tries to figure
out how to hack them and break them. Oh my gosh. He absolutely loves it. So, we so we have people who are teaching this, we have people who are working in the
hardware and the software, so lots of different options, it’s an evolving
market. And I think really the skills that you bring you help define what that
job is going to be created to be, so there’s sort of an individual aspect as
well. That’s great I really like that because I feel like everybody needs that, like I might not network, be good at networking that I might be good at
coding or things like that. Or people skills. Yeah that true. Or analysis. That’s great. So what are the most common misconceptions about Health Information Technology? That’s, that’s a great question. I would say that really falls into two categories. One category would be
sometimes people think that’s medical coding and medical coding is what some
people do once you visit a doctor facility and there’s special codes they
write in and send to the insurance company and that’s how you get payment
and while that’s a valuable skill that’s not it what we do. We’re more on the technology piece. So, we have had students come through that our coders and have done
very well. They’ve gone on to graduate school, so that would be one category of
a misconception. And I think the more serious misconception that I’m concerned
about is sometimes people think Health IT is limiting, and that’s really not the
case at all because you are taking the Information Technology courses, you just
have basically an advantage, a strategic advantage in the health market where the
big hiring is. So, so you’re not losing anything it’s, it’s actually opens more
opportunities. That’s great So, another thing I’d like to mention is we are at the point in our program has graduated enough classes, that we can look at the
statistics and see that our students in the Health Information Technology program have a higher rate of attending graduate school than any of our other
majors. And one of the reasons we think that is is there they tend to be hired
by some of the larger players in the Cincinnati market and they’re happy to
pay for the Graduate School which is made our graduates very happy. Oh
yeah definitely. So, what kind of students might be
interested in this major? Students who are interested in their future career,
employability. People who like technology, people who are creative and want to
think out of the box, so this is a new industry so we need to use some of that
creativity and maybe people that have some clinical background. Maybe they were a nurse maybe, maybe they did some of the coding, they have some that experience. Great thank you so much for answering my questions today. Thanks for inviting me.
You’re welcome we had a great time. Uhm, if you guys have any more questions please comment on the video below and we’ll make sure that Donna or someone
else reaches out to you get those answered for you. Next week we
are going to be back on Tuesday at 11:00 a.m. to learn about two majors, we’re going to learn about Psychological Science and Applied Social Research. Sounds great. Thank you very much

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