As more hospitals, clinics and group practices switch to electronic medical records, the need for employees that understand both records and the technology behind them will increase, too. Those with a solid understanding of computer software will be in high demand. The transition from paper records to electronic ones is a big task, and electronic data management will create new job opportunities.
In 2008, about 39 percent of jobs in this field were hospital-based but health information technicians work in a wide range of settings. Physician offices, insurance companies, clinics, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, outpatient surgery centers, home health care services, public health departments and government agencies also employ health information technicians.
The field has opportunities for specialization, such as working for cancer and organ transplant registries. These allied health workers maintain facility, regional, and national databases of cancer patients, patient records and pathology reports, and assign codes for the diagnosis and treatment of different cancers and selected benign tumors. Registrars also track treatment, survival and recovery. Here, Health Information Technology helps calculate survivor rates and treatment success rates locate areas with high incidences of certain cancers, and identify potential participants for clinical drug trials.