GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College is expanding its curriculum this fall to include a degree in Health Information and Medical Coding and a Certificate of Proficiency in Medical Coding.
The move, which is pending Illinois Community College Board approval this summer, is in response to the growing need for medical records and health information technicians, a field that is projected to grow 22 percent from 2012 to 2022. Health information technicians manage and organize medical data, ensuring its accuracy, accessibility and security.
"We've had a lot of interest from students wanting a medical coding program. This program should meet that demand," said Office Technology Program Coordinator Cathy Carruthers, who will oversee Health Information and Medical Coding.
Employment for health information technicians is expected to grow as the population ages and the demand for medical tests, treatments and procedures increases. More medical records and claims for reimbursement from insurance companies are expected to lead to a higher demand for health information technicians. Because of this, the program also targets students who want to retrain and learn skills in a rapidly expanding field.
"Our program will include the courses to sit for an industry-standard certified coder exam," Carruthers said.
Students will become versed in written and oral communication, knowledge of human biology, medical terminology, medical coding, and ethics and laws relating to healthcare privacy. Most health information technicians work either in hospitals or physicians' offices. Others work in nursing care facilities or for government entities.
The duties of a health information technician can include reviewing patient records, tracking patient outcomes, electronically recording data and protecting patients' health information to ensure that confidentiality is maintained.
"This new Health Information and Medical Coding program gives interested students an additional career path and complements our Medical Assisting and Medical Office Assistant Programs," Carruthers said.
LCCC will be collaborating with area high schools and will be informing counselors in the fall about what high school courses a student interested in the program should take. These include high school biology, first year English, Business Documents and Introduction to Computer Skills.