Health Information Technology Degree

Work with medical records and other vital health information 

Career outcomes  Education icon


  • Health information technician
  • Medical records technician

Earn your degree and prepare for a career in health information technology with this AAS degree program. Study biological sciences, medical record coding and classification systems, health informatics and health information management.

Upon graduation, you’ll be ready to obtain full-time employment as a health information technician, which is a key member of the health care team. Health information technicians ensure the quality of medical records and analyze patient data to improve patient care and control costs. They work in a range of settings, from hospitals and long-term care facilities to cancer registries, managed care organizations and physician offices.

After graduating, you’ll be eligible to take the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam.

CAHIIM SealAccreditation Statement: The Health Information Management accreditor of Harper College is the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM). The College’s accreditation for the Associate Degree in Health Information Technology (AAS HIT) has been reaffirmed through 2023-2024. All inquiries about the program’s accreditation status should be directed by mail to CAHIIM, 233 N. Michigan Avenue, 21st Floor, Chicago, IL, 60601; by phone at 312.233.150; or by email at info@cahiim.org.

AAS degree program requirements

This 60 credit-hour program prepares the graduate to enter a career which blends two rapidly expanding fields, healthcare and information technology. The HIT AAS degree is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIM). Students who successfully complete the academic requirements for this program are eligible to sit for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The RHIT credential is recognized by healthcare organizations nationwide.

RHITs are professionals who ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems. They also use computer systems to analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs. Many specialize in the classification of injuries, diseases and medical and surgical services and procedures. Although most RHITs work in hospitals, they may find employment in any organization that uses patient data or health information, such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, and health product vendors.

HIT courses in this program at the level of HIT 200 and above are designed for students with a declared Program of Study on HIT AAS or CIS AAS with Healthcare Specialization. The HIT AAS requires a 160-hour externship, arranged by the college, for students in their final semester of study. The Professional Practice Experience (PPE) obtained through the externship allows the student to apply knowledge and skills in a work setting.

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course

FIRST SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all BIO and HSC courses is required.

Number Course Title Credits Category
BIO 135 1 4 AAS General Education

Description: Surveys the human body, with emphasis on basic physical and chemical concepts, anatomy, physiology and embryology. Designed to meet the needs of students in certain allied health career programs. Knowledge of high school biology is assumed. (NOTE: Not Lab science credit.)

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

BIO 136 3 AAS General Education

Description: Surveys the nature of human disease with emphasis on the functional disturbances within the body systems. Designed to meet the needs of students in certain allied health career programs. Knowledge of high school biology assumed. (NOTE: Not Lab science credit.)

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

ENG 101 3 AAS General Education

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HSC 112 2 Program Requirement

Description: Emphasizes the origin and the basic structure of medical words, including prefixes, suffixes, word roots, combining forms and plurals. Offers pronunciation, spelling, and definition of medical terms based on the body systems approach. Emphasis on rendering a professional vocabulary required for work in the health care field.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HSC 165 1 Program Requirement

Description: Examines the mechanism of action of the major medication groups as they relate to the physiology and pathology of disease. Identifies examples in each major pharmacological category in order to understand pharmacological activity within each group. Addresses areas of drug action, clinical application, and adverse events for each medication discussed. Considers needs of patients undergoing drug therapy and the role of the allied health provider.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in BIO 135, BIO 160 or HSC 112 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

Mathematics2 3 AAS General Education

SECOND SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all HIT courses is required.

Number Course Title Credits Category
CAS 160 3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides an opportunity to become proficient in the use of currently popular software packages or suites. Includes word processing, spreadsheets, databases, presentation software and the integration of these applications.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

ENG 102 or

Description: Continues ENG 101. Reading literature and writing of various types of prose. Introduces methods used in writing investigative papers. IAI C1 901R

Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor or department chair.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

ENG 103 or

Description: Introduces the various types of writing and communication used in business and technology. Includes instructions, procedures, abstracts, proposals, visuals and reports.

Prerequisite: ENG 101 with a grade of C or better, or consent of instructor or department chair.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

SPE 101 3 AAS General Education

Description: Theory and practice of oral communications. Development of poise, confidence and skill in speech organization and delivery. Emphasis on frequent speaking, development of standards of criticism and selection and organization of material. IAI C2 900

Prerequisite: Placement into ENG 101 ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HIT 196 3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines and interprets health record documentation, conventions and guidelines for the Health Care Procedure Coding System (HCPSC). HCPSC Level I (Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and Level II (National Codes) are utilized to represent procedures provided in the ambulatory care setting and services rendered by providers across all healthcare settings. Emphasis is on the six sections of the CPT Coding Manual. Basic and intermediate coding scenarios are analyzed and interpreted in compliance with official guidelines and ethical coding practices. Reimbursement considerations are explored.

Prerequisite: BIO 135 or (BIO 160 and BIO 161), BIO 136, HSC 112 and HSC 165 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HIT 197 3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines and interprets health record documentation, conventions and guidelines for the current International Classification of Diseases (ICD) in use in the United States. ICD codes capture information related to diagnoses documented in all healthcare settings and procedures provided in the inpatient setting. ICD codes are utilized for statistical purposes, quality reporting, and reimbursement. Basic and intermediate coding scenarios are analyzed and interpreted in compliance with official guidelines and ethical coding practices. Reimbursement considerations are explored.

Prerequisite: BIO 135 or (BIO 160 and BIO 161), BIO 136, HSC 112 and HSC 165 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HIT 199 3 Program Requirement

Description: Explores the complex processes involved in reimbursement of healthcare services. Examines voluntary healthcare insurance plans, government-sponsored healthcare programs, managed care plans, and prospective payment systems. Outlines the characteristics of value-based purchasing and pay-for-performance systems. Emphasizes the importance of revenue cycle management on the financial viability of healthcare organizations. (formerly HIT 215)

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HIT 196 and HIT 197 with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

THIRD SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all HIT courses is required.

Number Course Title Credits Category
HIT 200 3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines health record content in administrative and clinical information systems for students pursuing the HIT AAS. Documentation requirements of various providers and disciplines to support organizational, regulatory and accreditation standards are evaluated. Primary and secondary uses of health data are explored. Data governance and data management practices that ensure the accuracy and integrity of health data are analyzed.

Prerequisite: BIO 135 or (BIO 160 and BIO 161), BIO 136, CAS 160, ENG 101 and ENG 102 or (ENG 103 or SPE 101), HSC 112, HSC 165, HIT 196, HIT 197, HIT 199, MTH 065 or (MTH 080 or MTH 101 or MTH 103 or higher) with grades of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HIT 225  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Explores the data structure, collection and standards of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) with in-depth analysis of administrative and clinical components. Provides hands-on practice with EHR and Practice Management (PM) software. Traces the flow of information through the revenue cycle and applies report generation tools to aid in decision support. Analyzes the technological challenges associated with interoperability and health information exchange. Examines privacy, security, confidentiality and legal issues.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HIT 200 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HIT 230  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Utilizes primary and secondary data sources in the application and interpretation of healthcare statistical formulas. Reviews basic research principles and contrasts descriptive, predictive and prescriptive data analytics. Explores measures of healthcare quality and the reporting of facility-wide outcomes for quality management. Utilizes process improvement tools and techniques. Examines continuous monitoring and improvement functions to enhance customer safety and satisfaction, refine the continuum of care, decrease risk exposure and manage the environment of care.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HIT 200 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HIT 250  F   3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines the legal and ethical issues involved in protecting the privacy, confidentiality and security of health information. Explores the maintenance, content, documentation and disposition of the legal health record. Analyzes the HIPAA Privacy Rule with regard to individual rights and penalties for non-compliance. Identifies the purpose and scope of the HIPAA Security Rule and outlines penalties for non-compliance. Applies legal requirements to the proper release of information and the mandatory disclosure to public health authorities. Explores issues of risk management, corporate compliance and workplace law.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HIT 200 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

Humanities or Social and Behavioral Science+ 3 AAS General Education

FOURTH SEMESTER:

A grade of C or better in all HIT courses is required.

Number Course Title Credits Category
HIT 220  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines information management strategic planning methods and tools in healthcare for students pursuing the HIT AAS or the CIS AAS with Healthcare Specialization. The role of analytics and decision support for strategic and operational planning is explored. Regulatory requirements surrounding accreditation, licensure and certification are examined. Organizational staffing and productivity metrics as well as training and development methodologies are investigated. Information governance initiatives are illustrated and project management methods are outlined.

Prerequisite: HIT 200 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HIT 235  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Examines complex areas of International Classification of Disease (ICD) and Current Procedural Coding (CPT) utilizing patient records from a wide variety of healthcare settings. Extensive use of encoder software and electronic coding references. Explores coding quality and compliance, regulatory issues and revenue cycles considerations.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HIT 200 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HIT 240  S   3 Program Requirement

Description: Provides a Professional Practice Experience (PPE) in the healthcare marketplace to allow an opportunity for the student to apply health information technology knowledge and skills. Includes on-campus meetings throughout the semester to discuss and process the externship experience, to develop workforce readiness, and to prepare and practice for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) exam. NOTE: All required HIT coursework for the AAS degree must be completed or enrolled in prior to registering for an externship.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HIT 220 and HIT 235 with grades of C or better.

Corequisite: HIT 299.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

HIT 299  S   2 Program Requirement

Description: Integrates all coursework in the HIT AAS degree program and guides the development of a capstone project. Surveys emerging topics and trends in the industry. Explores supervisory and leadership roles, methods and tools. Deepens cultural awareness and examines the extent to which policies and procedures support diversity in healthcare delivery systems and in the workplace.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in HIT 220 and HIT 235 with grades of C or better.

Corequisite: HIT 240.

Class Schedule:  Fall 2019 | Spring 2020

Program electives3 3 Program Requirement

1 - BIO 160 and BIO161 may be substituted for BIO 135.

2 - The mathematics requirement (MTH 065, or MTH 080, or MTH 101, or MTH 103 or higher) for this degree can be met with Math Competency.  See Math Competency options for information. Students who utilize Math Competency to meet the mathematics requirement must complete an additional three credit-hour elective. See full list of AAS General Education Electives. (PHI 101 is highly recommended).

+ - Students need to choose a course to meet this requirement that also fulfills the World Cultures and Diversity graduation requirement. See full list of AAS General Education Electives.

3 - Choose at least 3 credit hours from the following courses: CIS 143, CIS 211, HSC 225 or LNG 225, MGT 205, MTH 165

Program outcomes data

Attrition and Retention Data (8/1/2015–7/31/2016)

 

Full Time

Part Time

Total

Percent

Students

37

110

147

100%

Graduates

3

21

24

16%

Attrition

0

58

58

40%

Progression

34

31

65

44%

 

Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) Exam Results (10/1/2015–9/30/2016)

Harper Graduates Attempting

Harper        Graduates
Passing

Harper
Pass Rate

National Pass Rate

17

14

82%

67%

Program learning outcomes

Graduates of the Health Information Technology program are prepared to succeed in entry level positions in both ambulatory and acute care settings. Program outcomes include:

  • Ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy and proper entry into computer systems.
  • Utilize a variety of electronic health record (EHR) software applications to record, transmit and store patient data.
  • Use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs.
  • Specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research.
  • Evaluate the accuracy of diagnostic/procedural coding and grouping.
  • Apply policies and procedures surrounding issues of access and disclosure of protected health information (PHI).
  • Analyze healthcare data for decision making.
  • Evaluate the revenue cycle management processes.
  • Ensure compliance with regulations and standards.
  • Create programs/policies that support a culture of diversity.

Related program

Resources

Next steps

For more information about studying healthcare informatics at Harper, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.