Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration

Due to increasing demand for digitized patient records management, Peirce College has introduced a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Administration (HIA). The HIA credential will help equip those aspiring to management and leadership positions within the booming non-patient healthcare field.

“This is an exciting development. Health Information Administration is a necessary degree program for such a growing field. It is another extension of Peirce’s mission to offer highly relevant, career-related degrees for working adult students in the region,” said Stephanie Donovan, Assistant Professor and Program Manager, Health Information Technology/Health Information Administrationfor Peirce College.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the economy, half are related to healthcare. Employment among healthcare practitioners and technical occupations is expected to increase by 21 percent by 2018. Healthcare is one of the primary industries in the greater Philadelphia region.

When Peirce’s Health Information Administration program was presented to the Pennsylvania Department of Education, it was considered it to be relatively unique in the way the program is structured, Donovan pointed out. “They were bowled over by our proposal. Plus, there are not many of Peirce’s type of program out there,” she said.

“Our Health Information Technology associate degree and Health Information Administration bachelor’s degree make up what we call a 2+2 model,” Donovan said. “This model, which is not offered by all institutions, enables students to earn an associate degree, secure credentials to begin working in the field, and then continue on to earn a bachelor’s degree.”

Dominic Adams, Risk Manager at Temple University Hospital, says healthcare education curricular models are changing, so the jobs associated with healthcare are changing. One example he points to is the similarity a few years ago of positions associated with medical records. “Now there are more models based on the different complexities of healthcare,” Adams said. “The Peirce 2+2 program is definitely a rare model. The programs offered by most institutions are traditional four-year programs. Plus, the flexibility of selecting online or classroom study formats at Peirce is definitely a benefit.”

Another Peirce program advantage is that students are exposed to Health Information Management (HIM) specific courses in every year of study. It gives the Peirce program and students continuity. From day one students are learning about Health Information Management principles. “It is a plus because during the first two years of studies, students at most schools, especially those in four-year degree programs, are exposed to general studies courses, not the root of the degree, until later in the program,” Adams said.

The Health Information Administration degree is a natural extension—and the bachelor’s component—of Peirce’s Health Information Technology program. It represents more opportunities for those who are already in the patient records managementhealthcare field and who want a bachelor’s degree that is current to industry demands, Donovan added. (Peirce’s Health Information Technology program is a two-year degree that prepares students with the technical skills needed to manage electronic healthcare data and protect the integrity of patients’ records.)

Health information professionals serve as the link between care providers, payers and patients. They play a critical role in managing patient health information and medical records, administering computer information systems, collecting and analyzing patient data, and using classification systems that healthcare providers rely on to deliver quality care.

“The need for sharing fast and accurate medical information has never been greater. We want to help our students get on the fast track to a career centered on supporting the delivery of healthcare and the management of patient health information with one of Peirce College’s healthcare degree programs,” added Patricia Rucker, Senior Vice President, Academic Advancement and Provost for Peirce College. With medical information management and healthcare administration career opportunities projected to grow much faster than the average, Peirce’s Health Information Technology, Health Information Administration and Healthcare Administration programs give students the skills and credentials needed to enter or advance in this important sector, Rucker emphasized.

The Peirce Health Information Administration program also provides students with access to the AHIMA Virtual Lab, which includes a number of software applications currently used in the healthcare industry. Hands-on access to the Lab helps ensure students are better prepared to enter healthcare information careers.

The Lab provides students a competitive advantage when they apply for positions because they will be able to demonstrate a level of experience with the software. For example, in Peirce’s Coding course, students will utilize the QuadraMed and 3M Encoders. “Our graduates will have an elevated degree of proficiency because of their experience using these encoders in the classroom,” Donovan emphasized.

The Health Information Administration degree prepares students to advance in a career as a health information administrator in a number of professional settings. Students who already have a Registered Health Information Technology (RHIT) credential may be able to earn their bachelor’s degree in two years. The Health Information Administration (HIA) program is especially designed for professionals in the field who already have an RHIT credential and wish to earn a baccalaureate degree and secure a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential.

After completion of the RHIA exam, graduates can seek employment in hospitals, multispecialty clinics and physician practices, long-term care, mental health and other ambulatory care settings, and/or non-patient care settings, with careers in managed care and insurance companies, software services, consulting services, government agencies, education and pharmaceutical companies.

Peirce also offers a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration, which provides a solid foundation of business concepts integrated with industry knowledge for future leadership in the sector.

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