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Beal College Responds to Expanding Health Information Technology Field in Maine

The health information technology field is experiencing an expansion in both variety and opportunity in Maine.

Bangor Daily News:  Beal College knows that now, more than ever, people are privy to information about their own health. With the advancements in technology and system sharing that has developed over the past couple of decades, patients are able to access important data about their own health from their vital signs to their prescriptions, from test results to vaccination records and beyond. Most of our medical record is now tracked and filed electronically for ease of transferring to other professionals and transparency to patients through online programs like health provider portals. This progress is critical in moving forward as a healthier society.

A career in health information technology might be an appealing choice if you are looking to step into the business of caring for others while still being able to explore the highly demanded world of technology and computer programming. A training program in health information technology offers the certifications and skills to access many evolving tech based jobs in the health information management field.

This type of career requires a dynamic personality with the critical thinking abilities to work with confidential information, organize, analyze and prioritize patient data, document accurately and thoroughly, as well as effectively communicate with patients, professionals, and insurance companies. Being in the health information management field provides multifaceted opportunities for individuals who are compassionate, tech savvy, and business minded to have an enriching career with integrity and variety.

“No longer are [health information technology professionals] only records management,” says Susan Hawes, Beal College’s Dean of Students and Registered Health Information Technician. “Graduates today are taking positions in multiple areas including Data and Information Policy Development, Data Analyst, Clinical Data Quality, Privacy Officer, Revenue Cycle Management, Data Mining, Information Access and Disclosure Specialists, just to name a few.”

The number, need, and array of jobs within the health information technology field is rapidly growing with the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 13% increase of job opportunities by 2026. That substantial of an increase is well above average in most occupations.

The health information technology path can lead many places but can also encompass many career interests outside of medicine. Science, law, business management, and even information technology are studied as part of the health information technology programs that healthcare facilities desire their employees to attend. Not only are diverse focuses possible in this field, but mobility toward advanced positions is also attainable. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that such a high number of our population is aging that the time to begin your career in health information technology is now.

Between our aging population and our millennial population, who Forbes magazine calls the “C” generation (meaning the connected health generation), our need for tech accessibility to our clinical, financial, and legal health documentation is more crucial now than ever before.

Beal College has already foreseen this trend and has adjusted their programming to put their trained and RHIT (registered health information technician) and CPC (certified professional coder) certified students into the expanding workforce. Campus life for the college even has an established student group (Health Information Management Group) dedicated to supporting, connecting, and encouraging students who are studying the field of health information technology.

“The expected need for HIM professionals is 6,000 annually (National),” adds Hawes. “There are only 2,000 new graduates entering the field each year, according to the AHIMA HIM Workforce Study.”

Beal College is committed to educating and graduating skilled individuals who will be adequately ready to fill the expected 27, 800 jobs available by 2026. In the Bangor area alone, 113 health information management positions sit vacant on Beal College has even implemented a 160-hour externship with local area sites such as Eastern Maine Medical Center, St. Joseph Hospital, and Penobscot Community Healthcare. These important learning experiences help students get real-life training as well as networking opportunities to help them make connections in the health information technology field within the Bangor area and beyond.

Beal College knows that the time for a career in the health information technology field is now. The future is fast approaching and now might just be the time for you too.

Author: M. Kidder