Your Guide to Health Information Technician Training in Montana

If you’re aiming to become a health information technician in Montana, getting the right “health information technician training in Montana” is key. This guide provides an overview of the programs offered in the state, including at institutions like Great Falls College MSU, and outlines the steps to certification. Learn what it takes to manage health information systems and pave your way to a successful career in the field without wasting your time on unnecessary details.

  • Health information technology programs in Montana provide comprehensive training in healthcare IT, focusing on EHRs and critical skills like medical coding and billing.
  • Becoming a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) begins with an accredited associate degree in Health Information Management and passing the RHIT exam, which assesses competencies across six domains.
  • Students in Montana can access financial aid and scholarships, including federal aid, state-funded scholarships, and organization-based awards, to support their education in health information technology.

Health Information Technology Programs in Montana

In Montana, a health information technology program lays a robust foundation for healthcare careers, including the understanding of the healthcare system. These programs emphasize the crucial role of information technology in healthcare, outlining the vital components of health information systems and the relevance of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Courses such as Electronic Health Systems underscore the significant impact of IT on healthcare delivery and highlight the importance of proficiently managing health information systems.

The prerequisites for these programs usually include a high school diploma or GED and may require specific high school courses like biology. These programs merge theoretical knowledge and practical training, priming students for a fulfilling career in health information management.

Great Falls College MSU

Great Falls College MSU distinguishes itself as a premier institution for Health Information Technology education in Montana. The college offers an online, CAHIIM-accredited Associate of Applied Science Degree in Health Information Technology. This program covers a broad spectrum of courses, ranging from research in health information management to medical terminology, human form and function, and technical writing.

Admission to this program comes with specific prerequisites, usually completed within a specified timeframe. As of Fall 2023, the estimated cost of the program is $11,694 for tuition, fees, books, and supplies for Montana residents. The objective of this program is to equip individuals with the skills to organize and evaluate health records, ensuring their accuracy and completeness.

Skills and Knowledge Gained in Health Information Technology Programs

Graduates from Health Information Technology programs acquire an array of skills and knowledge, enabling them to excel in the healthcare industry. These programs provide a comprehensive understanding of medical terminology, which is essential for accurately defining, spelling, and pronouncing medical terms related to various disease processes and treatments.

The curriculum of these programs includes instruction in:

  • Medical coding and billing, utilizing ICD-10 and CPT coding systems
  • Training in medical billing to ensure the accuracy and compliance of health information management
  • In-depth knowledge of disease processes, pharmacology, and the proper methods of collecting and entering data into health information systems.

Medical Coding and Billing

Healthcare data management heavily relies on medical coding and billing. In Health Information Technology programs, students learn to:

  • Accurately apply diagnostic and procedural codes
  • Understand the critical component of healthcare reimbursement from insurance entities
  • Perform comprehensive data analysis

The curriculum of these programs encompasses various procedural and diagnostic coding systems, preparing students to become skilled medical coders. This includes the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-9 and ICD-10), Current Procedural Terminology (CPT), and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS). Additionally, students learn to utilize specialized computerized encoding and application software to support the accuracy and efficiency of clinical classification and coding.

Electronic Health Records Management

Another vital skill that Health Information Technology programs impart is the management of electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records. Health information technicians play a pivotal role in maintaining the compliance, accuracy, and functionality of electronic health record systems. They ensure that patients’ medical data is correct, accessible, and secure within the healthcare system.

Courses in Montana’s Health Information Technology programs focus on:

  • Issues around privacy, security, government regulations, and ethical/legal aspects of medical records
  • Proper management of EHRs, which leads to more coordinated and efficient patient care
  •  Facilitating secure sharing of electronic information with other clinicians
  • Helping providers more effectively diagnose patients, reduce medical errors, and provide safer care.

Becoming a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)

Pursuing a career as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) is a monumental step in the field of health information technology. This journey starts with completing an accredited associate degree program in Health Information Management and culminates in passing the RHIT exam.

Certification Requirements

Candidates aiming to take the RHIT examination need to complete an accredited associate degree program in Health Information Management. Graduates from Health Information Management programs approved by recognized foreign associations may also qualify.

Exam Preparation

Preparing for the RHIT exam is a critical component of the certification process. Resources for exam preparation include:

  • Textbooks
  • Online practice exams
  • Study guides tailored to the exam content outline
  • AHIMA’s online RHIT exam preparation courses

AHIMA also plans to launch an optional prep course to improve candidates’ confidence for the exam day.

Financial Aid and Scholarships for Health Information Technology Students

Financing the education to become a health information technician need not be a financial strain. Students in Montana pursuing health information technology education can access various types of financial support, including:

  • Federal aid
  • State-funded scholarships
  • Institution-specific awards
  • Organization-based scholarships

Investing in an education in health information technology can open doors to a rewarding career in a high-demand field. What kinds of financial support are available, and how can students leverage them?

Federal Financial Aid

Many students rely on federal financial aid as a substantial source of funding. To apply, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as their initial step. The FAFSA requires various financial information, and it is encouraged to be submitted electronically for effectiveness.

The type of aid facilitated by the FAFSA includes:

  • Need-based grants that do not need repayment
  • Low-interest loans to be repaid with interest
  • Work-study programs that offer part-time employment for those with financial need

After submission, students receive a Student Aid Report summarizing their information and the calculated Expected Family Contribution, which may necessitate additional verification.

Scholarships and Grants

Beyond federal aid, scholarships and grants tailored for health information technology students can offer noteworthy financial relief. Community colleges offer scholarships tailored for students enrolled in health information technology programs due to the growing need for trained professionals.