What Are the Health Information Technology Basics I Should Know?

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Health information technology (HIT) is how medical professionals and patients access and store confidential medical and healthcare information. If you want to work in the healthcare industry today, it’s important to know the basics of HIT.

Confidentiality is Critical in Health Information Technology

While security is important in any area of IT, confidentiality is crucial in HIT. That’s because the systems you’d work on store patients’ private data and information. And it’s not just a great idea; it’s the law. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) explains why patient confidentiality is so important and sets up rules to ensure personal information is protected.

These systems include:

  • Electronic Health Records (EHR), which are where patient health information and test results are stored. They make it easy for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to securely share patient information like history and lab results with each other.
  • Personal Health Records (PHR), which is similar to EHR, only the patient controls what information they put in it. This can include information like diet, exercise, and blood pressure tracking. PHR software may link to a doctor’s EHR.
  • Patient Portals, which let patients securely access their health information from anywhere online. Information in patient portals includes lab results, recent doctor visits, medications, and immunizations.
  • Electronic Prescribing, which allows your doctor to directly communicate with your pharmacy without the need for a paper prescription.

All of these programs and software store and share information that is covered under HIPAA. This and other laws cover what patient information can be shared, how, and with whom. To comply with these regulations, HIT systems may use encryption and other safeguards to secure patient data.

The Language of the Medical World

You probably know that computers have their own language. But add medical terminology to technology, and it’s like a whole new language. HIT uses its own acronyms, abbreviations and medical terminology. You’ll need to learn them so that you can properly code necessary information into computerized systems, maintain medical records and codes for procedures, and submit billing information.

No matter what role you play in the healthcare industry today, you’ll need to use and understand technology. At Charter College, all of our Health Care Programs introduce you to the basics of how to communicate through technology. We also teach you how to act professionally and hone your professional portfolio so you’ll stand out when you’re ready to search for a job.