Computer savvy, detail oriented and meticulously methodical are just a few attributes that describe a health care informatics professional, also known as a health information technician. They are responsible for all patient information that passes through a hospital from doctor check-ups and X-rays to lab results. So if you have a sharp eye for record keeping and data compiling, this might be the right profession for you.
It wouldn't be out of place to consider the health information technician as a kind of copy editor for the health industry. They compile and check all medical records for accuracy and completeness. This might include surgical records, patient symptoms, treatments, medical history, examination results and lab tests. Interpreting information is also important to the job. Each day health information technicians review patient data to improve patient care, control costs, and provide documentation for use within legal actions or research studies.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2008 the average wage for information technicians annually was $32,960 per year. The average hourly wage nationally was $15.85.
The BLS reported that the top-paying states for health care information technicians were New Jersey with an annual salary of $44,470, the District of Columbia at $41,470 per year, Hawaii at $39,820 per year, Maryland at $39,080 per year and Alaska at $38,280 per year.
Scanning the spectrum of industries available to health information technicians, the BLS listed the top five highest paying. As of May 2008 they are: pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing at $56,320 annually; business, professional, labor, political and similar organizations at $49,500 annually; the Federal executive branch at $43,380 annually; other support services at $42,680 annually; and business support services at $41,770 annually.
Similar to other medical jobs, health information technicians will see a dramatic spike in the demand for their skills. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that with the elderly population growing employment of health information technicians is expected to rise by 18 percent between 2006 and 2016. The BLS says this estimation is result of increased medical testing, treatments and procedures that will need to be scrutinized and evaluated by insurance companies, regulators, courts and consumers.