It took a conversation with an acquaintance to lead Colin Rhys Camper to his career path.
Camper, who graduated from Schoolcraft College with an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Health Information Technology in 2021, said he did not know that field existed when a client of his hairdressing mother mentioned it to him. Being he was interested in coding using SQL and Java, he decided to check out the program.
Several years later, he’s now working in the field as a billing adjudicator for Allstate, a job he’s passionate about.
“Everyone on my team is Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certified and we all use our broad knowledge of medical practices to parse through medical records to ensure they line up with the correct billing. It doesn’t sound exciting on paper, but in practice it’s a lot of investigative work,” he said. “I myself have been working on the special investigations side and I honestly feel like Sherlock Holmes from time to time.”
After transferring many of his general education credits to Schoolcraft College, Camper began taking classes specifically focused on health information technology, which prepares students to enter the world of electronic health care recordkeeping. He got involved in different groups on campus, including tutoring fellow HIT students and getting involved with the HIT Club, a decision that he called a “no-brainer.” He worked closely with Peggy Chapo, the HIT Program Coordinator, to keep students together when in-person activities were not taking place.
“I did not have any previous medical history or skills and felt if I was going to get anywhere, I needed to network heavily. The HIT club introduced me to several peers who are still in the field today,” he said. “It also gave me the opportunity to lead during the pandemic when I became the de facto president. Peggy Chapo and I put a lot of effort into keeping students tightly knit together during that time.”
After graduating and obtaining his RHIT certification, Camper worked at Trinity Health indexing medical records for the Livonia-based health care system. A year later, he went to Allstate.
He said the job security has been a welcome addition to his career, something the numbers for the field back up: the job outlook for workers in HIT show an increase in 7% between 2021 and 2031, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The job security is important to myself as a parent and husband,” Camper said. “Knowing what I do has an immediate impact on the financial and administrative sector of my career means I can generally rest assured I’ll always be employed.”
Such work is great for those looking to get into health care but don’t necessarily want to be face-to-face with patients, Camper said.
“It’s a broad field that really offers flexibility to your needs. It’ll take some time to get there but I started with zero relevant experience and ended up at my career goals within 1.5 years of graduation,” he said. “If you’re interested in logistical problem solving, extrapolating large sums of data, or dealing with varieties of information in a multitasking sense, this is for you.”
Schoolcraft College offers a Health Coding Specialist Certificate and a Health Information Technology Associate of Applied Science that can help prepare students to enter the field. More information on the program can be found at schoolcraft.edu.