Health Information Technicians (HIT) are in high demand - and their salaries show it. This detail oriented, federally licensed career path requires passing the rigorous American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) exam. RVCC has a proven track record of preparing students to pass the exam.

Our career-focused courses teach you to manage and code crucial data like patient histories, hospital budgets, disease categorization, and clinical databases for hospitals or private practice, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance agencies. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 20% increase in HIT jobs by 2018. Crunch the numbers and take the next step in your career as an essential element in the growing data-rich healthcare industry, and become a Health Information Technician today.

Pursue one of these Health Information Tech Career Paths at RVCC:
A.A.S. Degree – Health Information Tech (2 Year Program)
Certificate Program – Medical Coding

Almost all of the classes in both programs are online, with the exception of Human Biology and Statistics I.  If you are a distance learning student, we can accept credit for these courses if you take or have taken an equivalent course at another accredited college or university. For Statistics I, the course is offered online, but there is currently a requirement that all testing be done on campus, unless permission is granted for proctoring at another site near the student. 

If you are an AAS HIT degree student, there are also two 80-hour professional practice experiences that you must do; these are basically unpaid internships which must be done at facilities during normal business hours Monday – Friday.  We are currently asking all students to assist with finding their own placements for these practicums; this is especially true if you are a distance learning student.  There is also the option of doing the second practicum as a ‘virtual’ practicum, as long as you have done your first practicum face-to-face.  The virtual practicum is an extensive online set of assignments and exercises using EHR Go, a student version of an electronic health record (EHR) system. It is designed to take about the same length of time to complete as the 80-hour face-to-face practicum, and gives you an overall review of many of the areas of the curriculum we cover in the program, as well as additional practice in an EHR system that you normally can’t get in a face-to-face practicum.

For more information contact, Kathy.Reilly@raritanval.edu

The Health Information Technology – Medical Coding Certificate prepares students to determine appropriate medical codes, process coding information and maximize medical reimbursement.  As the health care system grows in complexity and advances in medicine and technology continue, hospitals and physicians who want to remain in the competitive health care arena will become increasingly pressed to ensure that they are in compliance with medical coding guidelines and insurance and billing procedures.  To this end, qualified medical coders will continue to be significant professionals in a wide range of health care settings.

The certificate can be completed within one calendar year. Graduates will be prepared to sit for the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) certification exam to become a Certified Coding Associate (CCA).  Students completing the certificate program can easily continue on to complete the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Health Information Technology, since the majority of the certificate courses are also included in the Associate Degree.

Medical coders are employed in the following settings: non-profit and private hospitals and nursing homes, physicians’ offices, federal and state hospitals, community health clinics, health maintenance organizations, and regulatory agencies such as state health departments and departments of mental health.

Graduates are able to:

  • Select proper coding choices and maintain effective office management practices within medical office practice environments
  • Understand billing procedures and guidelines related to health insurance, claims processing, and third-party reimbursement 
  • Describe ethical and legal considerations, including confidentiality, insurance fraud and abuse, as well as the role of the coding and reimbursement specialist
  • Acquire the skills to function as an entry-level medical coder

First Semester

BIOL 120
Human Biology 4 Credits

This course is an introductory study of the human body and the scientific method as it applies to human health. Emphasis will be placed on the basic anatomy and physiology of the human systems and their interactions. The course is designed to give students a general understanding of their bodies in health and disease.

HLTH 101
Healthcare Delivery Systems 2 Credits

This course provides an overview of the health care delivery system at the national, state and local level including the organizations that provide health care, applicable regulations and standards, reimbursement methods used, professionals that provide the services, as well as resources. Current trends in health care delivery are presented including health facilities, medical staff organization and functions, the changing roles of health care professionals, and patterns of financing health care.

HITC 105
Introduction to Health Information Technology 3 Credits

This course is an introduction to the health information profession, the health information department, and the health record. This course covers basic concepts and techniques for managing and maintaining health record systems. Topics include health record content, assembly, qualitative analysis, format, record control, storage, retention, forms design/control, indices and registers, and numbering and filing systems. This course provides in-depth presentation of the origin, uses, standards, content, format, access and retention of data across the healthcare continuum including both paper and electronic health records. Documentation requirements for complete and accurate health records as required by licensing, certifying, and accrediting agencies is also presented.

HLTH 150
Medical Terminology 3 Credits

This course introduces the student to medical terminology through the study of word structures such as common medical prefixes & suffixes and the origins of terminology used in medical practice today. Also includes basic anatomy and physiology, appropriate medical terminology, and procedures and diagnostic testing for each body system.

CISY 102
Computer Literacy 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): Recommended student has appropriate typing skills.

This introductory course focuses on how productivity software (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and data base management) can be used efficiently and effectively to gather, analyze, organize, and present information. The social, ethical, and privacy related aspects of computing are deliberated. Students will also learn how to develop effective online research techniques and will develop the skills required to successfully purchase a personal computer.

This course may not be used as a free elective in any Computer Science related program.

Second Semester

HLTH 107
Pathophysiology 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HLTH 150 - Medical Terminology ; BIOL 120 - Human Biology or BIOL 124 - Human Anatomy & Physiology I  & BIOL 125 - Human Anatomy & Physiology II.

This course covers disease etiology and organ system involvement, including physical signs and symptoms, prognoses, and common complications and their management. The disease process, basic concepts and terminology are presented. This course also includes an examination of the most common diseases of each body system, with normal anatomy and physiology compared to pathologic anatomy and physiologic malfunctioning due to disease process. Diagnostic methods, management, treatment modalities and prognosis are discussed.

HLTH 109
Pharmacology 2 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HLTH 150 - Medical Terminology ; BIOL 120 - Human Biology or BIOL 124 - Human Anatomy & Physiology I  & BIOL 125 - Human Anatomy & Physiology II.

This course is an introduction to pharmacology, including terminology, drug category, use, side effects, contraindications, and interactions. Common dosage ranges and routes of administration will also be examined. A general understanding of the actions and reasons for use of various groups of pharmacologic agents is introduced. Medications are discussed according to major drug classifications and body systems.

HITC 152
Basic ICD Coding 3 Credits

Corequisite(s): HLTH 107 - Pathophysiology , HLTH 109 - Pharmacology.

Diagnostic coding is used to identify accurately the reason for the physician service and support the medical necessity of services rendered. This course earmarks the various tables and volumes used, indicates the usage of ICD codes for statistical and tracking purposes, and identifies the unique skill sets specific to the professional coding setting. Emphasis is placed on the principals of coding and classification systems used in the assignment of valid diagnostic and/or procedure codes.

HITC 154
Basic CPT Coding 3 Credits

Corequisite(s): HLTH 107 - Pathophysiology, HLTH 109 - Pharmacology.

CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) is a set of codes and descriptions developed by the American Medical Association to standardize the identification of services commonly provided by physicians. This course introduces students to the basic concepts and methodology associated with CPT coding, including: terminology formatting, basic guidelines, and surgical package concepts. Additionally, the role of CPT in HCPCS (Health Care Financing Administration Common Procedural Coding System) coding and the use of codes in reimbursement management will be introduced.

HITC 155
Reimbursement Methodologies 3 Credits

Corequisite(s): HITC 152 Basic ICD Coding and HITC 154 Basic CPT Coding.

This course provides students the opportunity to learn the history, rationale, and methodology of the systems used by third-party payers to determine the reimbursement that health care providers will receive. Reimbursement concepts include fee-for-service, managed care, capitation systems, Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRGs), Resource Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS), Ambulatory Payment Classifications (APCs), and related concepts. The use of the charge description master (chargemaster) in reimbursement will be discussed. The importance of compliance with regulations and the related issues of fraud and abuse will also be addressed.

Summer

HITC 156
Advanced Coding 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HITC 152 - Basic ICD Coding , HITC 154 - Basic CPT Coding.

This advanced course will cover medical necessity, coding issues for specific body systems, and for general conditions.  Students should already possess a fundamental understanding of the CPT, ICD, and HCPCS coding principles at the start of this course. Intensive coding application will be achieved through the use of real medical records, case studies, and scenarios.  Application will include the use of an encoder. MSDRGs, APCs, RUGs, RBRVs, and the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) will also be covered in this class. This coding class requires hands-on coding skills, knowledge of basic use of applicable codebooks are essential.

HITC 290
Medical Coding Capstone 2 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HITC 156 - Advanced Coding.

Students in this course will gain practice experience applying advanced ICD-9-CM and CPT coding skills. Students will code a variety of medical records from hospitals, physicians' offices, and/or other health care settings.  The training provided in this course integrates coding and classification systems, health care functions, medical disease and treatment, and health care reimbursement at an advanced level to prepare the student for employment in the health information management industry as a medical coder.

Total Credits 34

Health Information Technology - A.A.S. Degree

The Associate of Applied Science Degree program in Health Information Technology (HIT) prepares students for careers in health information management. The HIT Associate degree program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Health Information Technicians are employed in hospitals, long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, large outpatient and ambulatory care centers, as well as physician offices, health insurance companies and local, state and federal health agencies. The program includes general education courses and courses in the major that teach basic health care information, specific medical coding procedures and health data management, and offers students experience in varied health care settings.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment of medical records and health information technicians is expected to increase by 20 percent (much faster than the average for all occupations) through 2018, because of rapidly increasing scrutiny by health insurance companies, regulators, courts, and growth in the number of medical tests, treatments, and procedures. In addition, with the increasing use of electronic health records, more technicians will be needed to complete the new responsibilities associated with electronic data management.

Graduates are able to:

  • Function as part of the health information management team
  • Collect, analyze, process and evaluate health data
  • Control the use and release of health information
  • Supervise staff

Successful completion of all degree requirements enables students to sit for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credentialing examination through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

FIRST SEMESTER-FALL

ENGL 111
English Composition 3 Credits

General Education Course: English Composition
Prerequisite(s): Grade of A in ENGL 050 Introduction to College Reading and Composition I or ENGL 060 Introduction to College Reading and Composition II, grade of B in ENGL 050 or ENGL 060 with corequisite of ENGL 070 English Composition I Workshop , or appropriate score on placement test.

English Composition I is the first in a two-course composition sequence. The central purposes of English Composition I are to develop critical reading and thinking skills and to write thesis-driven, text-based essays. The course takes a process-oriented approach to writing that incorporates prewriting, drafting, reviewing, and revising. Students in English Composition I learn basic research skills and apply them to at least one text-based research essay.

BIOL 120
Human Biology 4 Credits

General Education Course: Science (lab)

This course is an introductory study of the human body and the scientific method as it applies to human health. Emphasis will be placed on the basic anatomy and physiology of the human systems and their interactions. The course is designed to give students a general understanding of their bodies in health and disease.

HLTH 101
Healthcare Delivery Systems 2 Credits

This course provides an overview of the health care delivery system at the national, state and local level including the organizations that provide health care, applicable regulations and standards, reimbursement methods used, professionals that provide the services, as well as resources. Current trends in health care delivery are presented including health facilities, medical staff organization and functions, the changing roles of health care professionals, and patterns of financing health care.

HITC 105
Introduction to Health Information Technology 3 Credits

This course is an introduction to the health information profession, the health information department, and the health record. This course covers basic concepts and techniques for managing and maintaining health record systems. Topics include health record content, assembly, qualitative analysis, format, record control, storage, retention, forms design/control, indices and registers, and numbering and filing systems. This course provides in-depth presentation of the origin, uses, standards, content, format, access and retention of data across the healthcare continuum including both paper and electronic health records. Documentation requirements for complete and accurate health records as required by licensing, certifying, and accrediting agencies is also presented.

HLTH 150
Medical Terminology 3 Credits

This course introduces the student to medical terminology through the study of word structures such as common medical prefixes & suffixes and the origins of terminology used in medical practice today. Also includes basic anatomy and physiology, appropriate medical terminology, and procedures and diagnostic testing for each body system.

SECOND SEMESTER - SPRING

ENGL 112
English Composition II 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): ENGL 111 English Composition I .

English Composition II is the second in a two-course composition sequence that continues to expand and refine analytical writing and critical reading skills. Students produce a series of documented essays based on a range of fiction and non-fiction sources, focusing on the challenges posed by writing longer essays and using advanced research techniques.

HLTH 107
Pathophysiology 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HLTH 150 - Medical Terminology; BIOL 120 - Human Biology  or BIOL 124 - Human Anatomy & Physiology I  & BIOL 125 - Human Anatomy & Physiology II.

This course covers disease etiology and organ system involvement, including physical signs and symptoms, prognoses, and common complications and their management. The disease process, basic concepts and terminology are presented. This course also includes an examination of the most common diseases of each body system, with normal anatomy and physiology compared to pathologic anatomy and physiologic malfunctioning due to disease process. Diagnostic methods, management, treatment modalities and prognosis are discussed.

HLTH 109
Pharmacology 2 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HLTH 150 - Medical Terminology ; BIOL 120 - Human Biology  or BIOL 124 - Human Anatomy & Physiology I  & BIOL 125 - Human Anatomy & Physiology II

This course is an introduction to pharmacology, including terminology, drug category, use, side effects, contraindications, and interactions. Common dosage ranges and routes of administration will also be examined. A general understanding of the actions and reasons for use of various groups of pharmacologic agents is introduced. Medications are discussed according to major drug classifications and body systems.

HITC 152
Basic ICD Coding 3 Credits

Corequisite(s): HLTH 107 - Pathophysiology, HLTH 109 - Pharmacology

Diagnostic coding is used to identify accurately the reason for the physician service and support the medical necessity of services rendered. This course earmarks the various tables and volumes used, indicates the usage of ICD codes for statistical and tracking purposes, and identifies the unique skill sets specific to the professional coding setting. Emphasis is placed on the principals of coding and classification systems used in the assignment of valid diagnostic and/or procedure codes.

CISY 102
Computer Literacy 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): Recommended student has appropriate typing skills.

This introductory course focuses on how productivity software (word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and data base management) can be used efficiently and effectively to gather, analyze, organize, and present information. The social, ethical, and privacy related aspects of computing are deliberated. Students will also learn how to develop effective online research techniques and will develop the skills required to successfully purchase a personal computer.

This course may not be used as a free elective in any Computer Science related program.

SUMMER

HITC 111
Professional Practicum 2 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HLTH 101 - Healthcare Delivery Systems , HLTH 150 - Medical Terminology , HITC 105 - Introduction to Health Information Technology , BIOL 120 - Human Biology

This course will provide students with a supervised experience in a Health Information Management department. Emphasis will be placed on the primary functions of record content, assembly and analysis, filing and retention of records. This practicum is designed to allow the student to apply technical knowledge and skills learned in the classroom to procedures performed in a Health Information Management department. Assignments are crafted to allow students to gain exposure to today’s health information practices.

THIRD SEMESTER - FALL

MATH 110
Statistics 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): MATH 030 - Intermediate Algebra, or MATH 030R Intermediate Algebra w/Basic Algebra Review or appropriate score on math placement test.

This is a first course in statistics that introduces the student to the methods and uses of statistical research.  Topics include descriptive displays and analysis, classical probability, the normal distribution, the sampling distribution of the mean, inferences concerning means p-values.

PSYC 103
Introduction to Psychology 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): Placement into ENGL 111 English Composition I with ENGL 070 English Composition I Workshop, or higher.

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes.  Psychology studies the interaction among biological, social, and personal influences that describe, explain, predict, and control behavior.  This course presents a broad survey of basic concepts, theories, and research in the field of psychology. Topics include research methods, development, neuroscience, learning and cognition, personality theories, psychological disorders, and therapy.

HITC 154
Basic CPT Coding 3 Credits

Corequisite(s): HLTH 107 - Pathophysiology , HLTH 109 - Pharmacology.

CPT (Current Procedural Terminology) is a set of codes and descriptions developed by the American Medical Association to standardize the identification of services commonly provided by physicians. This course introduces students to the basic concepts and methodology associated with CPT coding, including: terminology formatting, basic guidelines, and surgical package concepts. Additionally, the role of CPT in HCPCS (Health Care Financing Administration Common Procedural Coding System) coding and the use of codes in reimbursement management will be introduced.

HLTH 103
Health Law & Ethics 3 Credits

This course is an in-depth study of federal, state and local laws that govern the preparation and use of health records and health information in the health care delivery system. The course covers the impact of legal issues on health information management and provides an overview of the judicial system and legislative process. Topics include confidentiality, release of information, retention guidelines, authentication, informed consent, advance directives, subpoenaed information, security of computerized health information, liability, and legislative trends.

HITC 155
Reimbursement Methodologies 3 Credits

Corequisite(s): HITC 152 Basic ICD Coding and HITC 154 Basic CPT Coding

This course provides students the opportunity to learn the history, rationale, and methodology of the systems used by third-party payers to determine the reimbursement that health care providers will receive. Reimbursement concepts include fee-for-service, managed care, capitation systems, Diagnosis-Related Groups (DRGs), Resource Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS), Ambulatory Payment Classifications (APCs), and related concepts. The use of the charge description master (chargemaster) in reimbursement will be discussed. The importance of compliance with regulations and the related issues of fraud and abuse will also be addressed.

FOURTH SEMESTER - SPRING

HITC 210
Health Data Reporting & Analysis 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): MATH 110 - Statistics I , HITC 111 - Professional Practicum I
Corequisite(s): HITC 220 - Organizational Resource Management.

This course covers maintenance, compilation, analysis, and presentation of health care statistics. Discussion is focused on the use, collection, presentation, and verification of health care data including fundamental concepts of descriptive statistics; data validity and reliability; data presentation techniques; and vital statistics. Students will be introduced to topics such as basic statistical principles, morbidity and mortality, commonly computed hospital rates, uniform reporting requirements, and selection and construction of data displays. This course also introduces principles of quality improvement philosophy, including tools, data analysis/application, and related committee functions; utilization management and risk management; and credentialing, accreditation and regulation.

HITC 220
Organizational Resource Management 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HITC 111 - Professional Practicum I, ENGL 111 - English Composition I.

This course provides an overview of management and supervision principles as applied to health care settings. In particular, this course presents basic principles of management and supervision of health information management services. Emphasis is placed on problem-solving and communication skills related to planning, organization, directing, controlling, and budgeting. Work simplification, in-service education, writing of job descriptions and procedures, forms revision and control, justification for and selection of supplies and equipment are reviewed as well.

HITC 200
Health Information Systems & Technology 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): CISY 102 - Computer Literacy, HITC 111 - Professional Practicum I.

This course covers basic computer system architecture, file structure, and design for health care settings. Topics include system analysis, design, security, and selection for a variety of hardware environments. This course provides students with a review of computer fundamentals and the fundamentals of the electronic health record and an introduction to the information systems life cycle with software application. Security and confidentiality issues, concerns and implications in relation to the electronic health record will be addressed.

HITC 156
Advanced Coding 3 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HITC 152 - Basic ICD Coding , HITC 154 - Basic CPT Coding

This advanced course will cover medical necessity, coding issues for specific body systems, and for general conditions.  Students should already possess a fundamental understanding of the CPT, ICD, and HCPCS coding principles at the start of this course. Intensive coding application will be achieved through the use of real medical records, case studies, and scenarios.  Application will include the use of an encoder. MSDRGs, APCs, RUGs, RBRVs, and the Correct Coding Initiative (CCI) will also be covered in this class. This coding class requires hands-on coding skills, knowledge of basic use of applicable codebooks are essential.

Humanities
Humanities 3 Credits

Select a course from the appropriate category of the General Education list.

SUMMER

HITC 230
Professional Practicum II 2 Credits

Prerequisite(s): HITC 152 - Basic ICD Coding, HITC 154 - Basic CPT Coding, HITC 200 - Health Information Systems & Technology, HITC 210 - Health Data Reporting & Analysis, HITC 220 - Organizational Resource Management.

This course is the capstone course in Health Information Technology. The second of two supervised practicum's designed to allow students to apply technical knowledge and skills learned in class to procedures performed in a health information management department. Assignments focus on various types of health care facilities to gain exposure to health information practices. Emphasis will be placed on advanced functions of quality improvement, legal aspects, coding and reimbursement, and department management.

Total Credits 63

The certificate program earns you 34 credits, the degree program earns you 63 college credits. To enroll in either program you must Apply to the College.