By Jul DeGeus
“Let me check your records.” A phrase many of us hear when visiting the doctor’s office. But who manages these records? Who makes sure that our medical information is up to date and accurate?
That is part of the job of a Health Information Technician. We sat down with Amanda Carter, Centura College’s Health Information Technology Coordinator for the Chesapeake campus, to find out a little bit more about what it means to be a Health Information Technician:
What made you decide to become a Health Information Technician?
I decided to become a Health Information Technician after I worked in the medical field as a medical assistant for about two years. The job market was constantly changing, so I decided to branch out. It made sense for me to do it because the health care industry was growing larger. Gaining more experience opened up additional opportunities for me to advance my career and to educate people about the ever changing costs of health care.
What advice would you give those considering a career in Health Information Technology?
The advice that I would give those considering a career in Health Information Technology is that even though you don’t have a lot of ‘facetime’ with patients, you are truly making a positive difference in their lives. Health care costs and expenses can be one of the most stressful triggers for patients and their families. As a Health Information Technician you get the chance to help alleviate that stress.
What study aids did you use during your education?
It’s cliché, but my training reinforced that practice makes perfect. I constantly coded scenarios and corrected error reports just to try and trick myself. It helped me to be confident and also taught me to fix interesting and dynamic health care scenarios. It reassured me and gave me positive outlook for my career in the health care field.
What is your proudest moment as a Health Information Technician?
My proudest moment as a Health Information Technician was when I helped an elderly lady with her husband’s seemingly never-ending health care expenses. She was constantly confused and overwhelmed by her billing statements. I knew she needed help understanding them and I offered to explain them to her in a way that made sense. After I took the time to go over them with her, you could hear the excitement in her voice; she finally fully knew what was going on with her bills and was ecstatic. Just hearing her excitement over the phone gave me so much joy. As if that wasn’t enough, she even made it a point visit the office just to thank me in person with homemade chocolate chip cookies. It was the BEST DAY EVER!
Health Information Technologists are part of a healthcare interdisciplinary team and an integral part of the healthcare profession. As a student in Centura College’s Health Information Technology training, students will obtain a vast array of knowledge about the information technology field in preparation for entry into the workforce.
The Goal of Health Information Technology
A health information technician is entrusted with the application of IT resources on health care operations. This objective can be accomplished through use of technology in the management of health care information.
Defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health information technician:
Medical records and health information technicians, commonly referred to as health information technicians, organize and manage health information data. They ensure that the information maintains its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper files and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for insurance reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain patients’ medical and treatment histories. (1)
The employment for health information technology is projected to continue growing in the future. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate is set to be about 15% faster than the average for other jobs. This improvement can be attributed to the increased need for medical by the older generations. There will be a higher demand for health insurance information management because more individuals are benefiting from the reforms on the federal insurance. In addition, more hospitals and clinics are embracing electronic health records, providing extensive opportunities for HIT experts.
The median pay in 2016 for health information technicians was $18.29 per hour or $38,040 per year. The number of HIT jobs in 2014 is estimated at 188,600 and the field has continued to expand. Those who hold a health information technology diploma are eligible for employment as a coder, biller, medical record specialist or health information technician.
1. “What Medical Records and Health Information Technicians Do.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 26 July 2017. < https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-2>Source
By Robb Rajnys and Jul DeGeus
With great technological advances, comes great technological responsibilities; like protecting your personal information.
Thanks to the progress of technology, we are living in an age where you can accomplish almost anything with a swipe of a finger. Track your fitness, manage your bank account or even supervise your lights and lock systems at your home remotely; that is, as long as you have a Wi-Fi connection and a charged smart phone. But like all great things, technology comes with a downfall: cyberattacks.
There severity of a cyberattack is only limited to the imagination of the person who creates the virus. Familiarize yourself with common terms and proactive prevention to ensure the safety of your personal information:
Malware: In Latin, “mal” means “bad,” it’s no surprise that malware is the general term for malicious threats, like Trojans or worms, that try to steal and destroy data.
Malvertising: Keeping in mind that the Latin root of “malware”, malvertising is an ad that has been infected with malware. When you click on the ad, whatever was effect the cyberattacker loaded in the coding of the ad is downloaded on your computer.
Password Attacks: Probably the most obviously attack term, password attacks occur when a hacker tries to steal your password for information. Cyber thieves can use a program to access your passwords, or even resort to old fashioned ways: peering over your shoulder to see your smart phone screen as you type in the pin to your debit card.
Phishing: Another term many people are familiar with is “phishing.” This attack targets your email accounts. The attacker sets up a company and requests personal information or provides a link to click on. The website’s information you’re directed to aligns with the information you received in the email, sometimes creating a false sense of security and legitimacy. As soon as you input your information, the hackers can use it as they see fit.
Ransomware: In a nut shell, Ransomware is a virus that will lock you out of all your data- documents, photos, contacts, etc. – until you pay a fee. If you chose not to pay the fee, you’ll have to wipe your whole computer in order to use it, losing all of your data anyway.
Thwarting the Attacks
Never fear, prevention is out there! To counter the above hazards, ensure you install and adhere to the following:
Firewalls: This is a virtual gate, if you will, that can prevent or allow certain traffic from leaving or gaining access to your PC. To increase effectiveness, the firewall should stay turned on, especially if you are connected to the internet.
Antivirus Software with Ransomware Protection: Invest in a good antivirus software that includes a ransomware protection plan; good meaning that you should pay for it. Most free antivirus protection software only monitors issues and then alert you, not take care of the problem. Purchasing antivirus software provides monitoring and proactive protection.
Keep Your PC Up to Date: Most users do not maintain their updates. Updates are important because they’re purpose is to help keep your computer safe. Every time a new malware is developed or and old one is updated, programmers hastily work to develop and push out an update to their consumers to counteract its effects, keeping your information all the more protected.
Email: Everyone on the planet has an email now a days. 91% of cyberattacks stem from email. Be wary of emails you receive that:
- Request passwords
- Request your Social Security Number
- Offer anything “free”
- Alert you with an “urgent” warning or threat of an expiration of an account
- Request credit card information
Everywhere you go on the internet leaves “footprints;” where you shop, where you bank, what you may want to buy, etc. Malware picks up on your “footprints” and tries to trick you by creating emails and pop-up advertisements that are catered to your internet browsing, searching and buying habits. If something look suspect, treat it as such. However, if you land on a website you’re not so sure about or regret downloading a file, there are handy websites to scan files or sites in question.
File Storage: Backup your computer and all data regularly to ensure its safety. Use a secure file housing website, software, or simply copy important folders and files to a USB disk regularly. This minimizes the impact, headaches and helps to avoid having pay a ransomware to get your vital documents.
By Shawnte’ Peterson, Massage Therapist Coordinator at Centura College’s Chesapeake Campus
Edited by Jul DeGeus & Esperanza Poquiz
A massage therapist’s work often involves lifting clients’ body parts, repetitive postures and forceful pressure that could lead to injury or ailments. To help prevent damage, massage therapists should remember to care for their body, as it is the main tool of their trade. Here at Centura College, we encourage our students and staff to care for themselves and listen to the advice we give clientele. This self-care means nurturing your body by fueling it with nutrients to keep it energized and carefully listening to our body when it establishes its limits.
The American Massage Therapy Association describes self-care as, “an indication that you recognize the importance of balance in your life. Placing a priority on self-care helps you center yourself and reduce stress.” Practicing self-care can extend the longevity of a massage therapist’s career. By learning techniques to keep hands and wrists healthy, a massage therapist benefits by working smarter and not harder through body awareness. Massage therapist can find tips, such as the ones listed below, useful in everyday life and at work as a means to avoid burning-out and injury:
Centura College Chesapeake Campus’ Massage Therapy students practicing yoga.
Stretching– A massage therapist should know better than anyone that “warming up” before putting your body through intense activity helps prevent strains. Massage therapists can develop the best stretch routine by consulting with their doctor.
Massages– Whether it’s a self-massage or a massage from a coworker, massage therapists should get them often, especially since therapist have a great understanding of massage benefits including stress relief, pain management and improving sleep cycles.
Proper Diet and Nutrition- Regardless of profession, everyone should have a diet tailored to the improvement or balance of their health. By visiting a dietitian or doctor, massage therapist can create a meal plan full of the nutrients they need.
Body Detoxes– Preforming a body detox can boost a healthy mindset. Massage therapists that detox can experience sharpened thoughts, improved breathing and a surge in energy.
Exercising– To preform optimally, massage therapists should exercise regularly. Exercising strengthens therapists’ body, from the hands to the core.
Yoga and Meditation- With similar positive body strengthening effects to exercising and stretching, yoga also includes the revitalizing element of meditation to put the mind in a positive state. Starting the day with a positive energy will allow for therapists to transmit this energy to the people they interact with.
Because massage therapist’s jobs are labor intensive, they need to move to keep their muscles and joints healthy. Keeping this in mind, massage therapist will have a long positive career, which will ensuring the happiness of their clientele and themselves.
By Jul DeGeus
Some might argue that professionalism is one of the keys to success in the business world. Knowing the rules of business etiquette can set you apart from other employees, but one of the most commonly abused etiquette rules is the use of cell phones. While you should refer to your company’s rules and regulations for instruction regarding cell phone usage, these are some best practices:
Cellphone Volume and Ringer/ Ringtone
There’s nothing worse than sitting at your cubicle, working on a report in a silent office and having your phone ring. Anxiously, you bustle around through your personal items, quickly trying to hush it. You apologize for disturbing everyone and, red-faced, you get back to work hoping you won’t be made fun of later for your choice of ringtone. Two main rules of etiquette can be learned in this situation:
- Always remember to silence your phone- Make turning your phone to “silent mode” part of your morning routine to save you some shame. Breakfast, shower, brush your teeth, check your phone, grab coffee and head to work.
- Pick a professional ring/text tone- While you might know all the words to “Baby Got Back,” and even have a choreographed dance paired with it for special occasions, your ringtone reflects your professionalism. Keep it generic to keep it professional.
Also keep in mind that setting your phone to “vibrate” is not the same as “silencing” your phone. While it is harder for some to pick up the sounds, vibrations are audible, especially if sitting on a tabletop surface.
When and Where to Use Your Cell
Lunch time is the perfect time to take or make personal calls. Most lunches are “off the clock” which is the ideal time to make your calls. Just be aware of your surroundings and understand that in a cafeteria or restaurant setting, others have the opportunity to hear part or all of your conversation. A personal or secluded space, such as your car, will allow for more privacy.
Most companies allow you to use your phone on break, but take into consideration how long you use your phone. Generally, breaks are 15 minutes. If you exceed this time, it is likely that your boss will notice and could result in discipline.
It’s not the best idea to use your phone when in your cubicle. A neighbor can pop their head over the separator and gaze your screen or overhear a chat you are having. Additionally, you do not want to interrupt your peers’ concentration by carrying out a loud, disruptive dialogue.
People often use restrooms to have conversation on their phone. While this seems private, voices can carry through the buildings ventilation system. Not to mention, if your office shares a single or limited number of stalls, you could be holding up someone who needs to use the restroom.
There’s always an exception to the rule and when it comes to cell phones, emergencies are the exception. If there is some sort of emergency that causes your phone to ‘blow up,’ communicate this with your boss so they are aware of why you are on your phone.
Say you are in a meeting and someone vaguely refers to information you know you have access to via your cell phone. In situations like this, it’s ok to use your phone to access the information, so long as you announce that that is what you are doing. Something as simple as, “I’ll get those exact numbers for you,” or, “I have that email, let me pull it up,” will let everyone in the meeting know you are using your phone to enhance the meeting, rather than ignore it.
When interacting with people, give them your full attention. Try not to use your phone as a timepiece and avoid your smart watch; if you spend too much time looking at your smart watch, people will assume you are checking a text message and ignoring them. Finally, as sneaky as you may be, don’t read text messages under the table, behind a coffee cup or in back of portfolio or clip board.