HANCEVILLE, Ala. — The Health Information Technology (HIT) and Medical Coding programs at Wallace State Community College are celebrating Health Information Professionals Week this week. March 18-24 is set aside to honor and celebrate health information professionals across the nation. The theme for 2018 is “Our Future is Bright.”
“It’s a transformational time for healthcare, and health information is at the heart of this transformation,” said Lou Ann Wiedemann, MS, RHIA, CDIP, CHDA, FAHIMA, interim senior vice president, member services of the American Health Information Management Association. “In the midst of all this change, positive opportunities are being created. Health information management professionals understand clinical and financial data as well as information governance and data management—all tools that can help reward value, lower cost, and make the healthcare experience better for patients. It is a great time to be in the HIM profession, and we believe our future is bright.”
Locally, Hanceville Mayor Kenneth Nail signed a proclamation recognizing the week. Attending the signing were Wallace State’s Dean of Health Sciences Lisa German, HIT and Medical Coding program director Donna Conn, HIT and Medical Coding instructor Sharon Woodruff and students Kelli Edwards of Gardendale and Sharon Hester of Huntsville.
Deciding to make a career change after 23 years in the service industry, Hester said she chose Health Information Technology and Wallace State because it offered more options to give her more opportunities in the field. “Health information technology gives you all those avenues, working for a doctor’s office, working for lawyers. You can work for hospitals. You can work for different facilities and you have other duties that you can go into. You can consult, you can code, you can work administrative, and all of those things are not necessarily hands on to the patient, but you’re assisting the patient’s care.”
Both programs are completely or almost completely online, which both Hester and Edwards appreciate.
“That helps a lot because I’m able to work and go to school full-time,” Hester said.
Edwards said she still comes to campus occasionally to get one-on-one consultation with the instructors. “But most of the time they are very responsive through the courses,” she said. “It’s rare that I can’t get them on the phone or through an email.”
Edwards previously earned her Associate in Science degree from Wallace State and entered the workforce in banking. She then returned as a part-time student and earned a Medical Coding certificate.
“It was suggested to me by co-workers who said that I would really enjoy it and that I’d be very good at it,” Edwards said.
“You can do so many different things with HIT or even Medical Coding,” Edwards said. She said her goal is to get into cancer research and be a cancer registrar due to her personal family history with the disease. “It’s just a passion of mine.”
Both women said their instructors have been very helpful.
“They want you to succeed,” Edwards said.
The Wallace State Health Information Technology and Medical Coding programs are currently accepting applications through June 1 for entry for Fall 2018. Medical Coding is a four-semester, 48 credit hour program; Health Information Technology is a six-semester, 76 credit hour program. With the exception of professional practice courses, program courses are offered online.