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Health Information Technology Major Earns National Accreditation

The Health Information Technology major at Pennsylvania College of Technology has been awarded full accreditation by a national accrediting agency.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, in collaboration with the Council on Accreditation of the American Health Information Management Association, awarded accreditation recently to the associate-degree major, which is offered by the School of Business and Computer Technologies at Penn College.

The Commission accredits programs representing 21 allied health professions, recognizing nearly 2,100 allied health-education programs at more than 1,300 institutions. The accreditation process includes a self-study and comprehensive on-site review based on nationally recognized educational standards.

Penn College’s Health Information Technology major is one of only seven accredited programs offered in Pennsylvania that meets or exceeds the rigorous AHIMA curriculum standards and eligibility criteria. The College joins an elite group of higher-education institutions nationwide with accredited Health Information Technology programs, including the University of Arkansas, Miami-Dade Community College, Idaho State University, Indiana University, Louisiana Tech University, the University of New Mexico and the Community College of Philadelphia.

“Accreditation not only confirms the quality of the program, but also enables our graduates to take the national examination for the highly-valued Registered Health Information Technician credential,” said Daniel K. Christopher, an assistant professor of business administration/office technology and medical records and director of the Health Information Technology program at Penn College.

The goal of accreditation is to ensure that degree-granting educational programs comply with certain standards. AHIMA’s Council on Accreditation for Health Information Programs presents its recommendations to CAAHEP, which awards final accreditation. CAAHEP is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, assuring that the accreditation process for health-information programs meets national standards.

Health information is one of the fastest-growing career fields, according to government labor statistics. Health information jobs are available with hospitals, nursing homes and other health-care providers, as well as law firms, insurance companies, correctional facilities and software- development companies that specialize in health-care applications.

The field of health information addresses much more than traditional patient records stored on paper. A new area known as “e-Health” involves how the Internet and associated technologies have revolutionized the way business is conducted and how they have transformed health care. Examples include consumer access to health Web sites and online personal health records.

By harnessing the strengths of information technology, health-information professionals can help to reform health care to meet the needs of health-care professionals and patients. Potential benefits include improved patient-centered, coordinated care; better quality of care and patient safety; enhanced workforce productivity and job satisfaction; simplified billing; and the ability to better meet health-care customers’ expectations for access to information.

For more information about the Health Information program at Penn College, contact the Office of Admissions, Pennsylvania College of Technology, One College Avenue, Williamsport, PA, 17701; call (570) 327-4761, or call toll-free 1-800-367-9222.

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