Partnership Makes New Medical Office Technology Options Possible
August 02, 2004

A new certificate in health information technology and a new letter of recognition in medical records coding are being offered this fall at Wor-Wic Community College, in partnership with Carroll Community College (CCC).

“Wor-Wic conducted a feasibility study to determine the need for health information and medical coding technicians in this area,” explained Ronald G. Dolch, department head and assistant professor of business.

“Nearly 100 questionnaires were sent to area health-related insurance companies,” Dolch added, “and the majority responded by saying that there was a need for college-educated technicians.”

The Health Information Technology Certificate Program is designed to prepare students for medical records coding careers or other employment opportunities as health information technicians.

The program consists of 26 hours of office technology, biology and computer studies courses. Students can enroll in all nine required courses at Wor-Wic. Three of the required courses will be taught by CCC instructors in a distance learning format. Students attending class at Wor-Wic’s campus in Salisbury can see, hear and talk with the instructor and students sitting in a CCC class in Westminster, Md.

“Students will learn to interpret health record documents using knowledge of anatomy, physiology, clinical disease processes, pharmacology and medical terminology to identify codeable diagnoses and procedures,” Dolch said.

Medical office field experience during the final semester of the program will help students gain experience in their areas of emphasis. Dolch added that health information technicians are employed in hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care facilities, physician offices, home health agencies and other facilities that create or evaluate health records. Graduates can take the Certificate Associate and Certificate Coding Specialist examinations, or the Certificate Coding Specialist – Physician Based examination, offered by the American Health Information Management Association.

Dolch explained that the letter of recognition in medical records coding focuses on translating diagnoses and procedures described by doctors or other medical professionals into codes that are recognized and accepted by Medicare and other insurance programs. Students interested in a letter of recognition are required to take medical terminology, as well as basic and advanced medical records coding courses.

“It is important to the health care field to have trained health information and medical coding technicians to maintain accuracy and consistency,” Dolch explained.

For more information, call Wor-Wic at (410) 334-2895.