Another program HITs campus

By Sean Armstrong
News Editor

Health Information Technology (HIT) is a growing field of study all over the world. In a nutshell, HIT technicians are responsible for gathering medical information and handling medical records, and since the fall of 2011, Crowder has offered an Associate in Applied Science Degree and a Medical Coding Specialist Certificate in HIT; completely online.

HIT technicians learn about medical records, human anatomy, how to assist doctors and nurses, coding, health information management systems and many other things that will assist them in the future. They will also learn about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws and how to protect themselves and others in specific situations.

Susan Foster, instructor and coordinator for the HIT program at Crowder, pretty much created the entire curriculum herself. She is a graduate of Crowder and has been teaching here since 2010. She says that this degree will help students in many ways, including the skills to take care of patient information, and how to read, interpret, and use new codes that will be implemented soon.

Coding is a very important and integral part of HIT. In Crowder’s program, students will learn about the new and changing code system. People in coding must have knowledge in HIT and in health terminology to know how to apply the appropriate codes to the appropriate situations.

With this program being completely online, it will make it easier for non-traditional students to take HIT courses, so that they can still go to school and work, and with the possibility of having virtual office hours and virtual meetings available in the future, students will be able to get some face-to-face interaction with the convenience of online classes.

Another convenience of Crowder’s HIT program is that other classes will transfer without any trouble. Also, after the Associate degree is earned, then the students are able to transfer to a four-year school to earn a Bachelor’s degree. Foster is in the process of working with Stephens College in Columbia, that also provides an online HIT program, so that students can plan on transferring there after Crowder.

“This is an intense course…” says Foster, “It’s not for the week hearted.” She also says that students thinking about going in to HIT should be detail oriented and should have the drive to succeed in a HIT career. This degree is also perfect for people that would like to be in the medical field, without dealing with patients directly.

In an interview with Foster she explained that students who complete this online degree in HIT could start careers at hospitals, mental institutions, medical offices, insurance companies, veterinarian offices, ambulatory care centers, correctional facilities and other places that need people to decipher medical information and know how to use codes efficiently.

HIT jobs include Health Information Manager (HIM), clinical data specialist, patient registrar, medical billing representative, coding manager and many others.

For students interested in pursuing a degree in HIT, or for students that have any questions about this degree, contact Susan Foster at Her office phone number is (417) 455-5408.