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Health Information Management

Health Information Management Career and Training Profile
Health Information Management Schools

Health Information Management

HIM Job Description
Health Information Management professionals manage all aspects of the content of medical patient records and patient information systems. Job responsibilities include anything from information gathering and maintenance, data analysis and interpretation to designing, implementing, and maintaining health information technology systems.

Recent regulations enacted by the Federal Government require that all health care providers maintain electronic patient records and that these records be secure. As a result, health information managers must keep up with current computer and software technology and with legislative requirements. In addition, as patient data become more frequently used for quality management and in medical research, health information managers ensure that databases are complete, accurate, and available only to authorized personnel.

HIM professionals have expertise in health informatics, which requires knowledge of clinical medicine, the computer-based patient record, coding and classifications systems, quality and human resource management, as well as ethical, legal, regulatory and accrediting agency requirements.

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HIM Career Opportunities
In a recent membership survey, AHIMA found that more than half of the RHIA respondents were directors, managers, or consultants, with nearly 31 percent serving as health information management directors. Historically, most RHIAs have held the title of director of the health information management department of an acute care facility, but today other career opportunities abound, including privacy officer, patient information coordinator, information security manager, and data quality manager.

Job opportunities for RHIAs exist in multiple settings throughout the healthcare industry. These include the continuum of care delivery organizations, including hospitals, multispecialty clinics and physician practices, long-term care, mental health, and other ambulatory care settings. The profession has seen significant expansion in nonpatient care settings, with careers in managed care and insurance companies, software vendors, consulting services, government agencies, education, and pharmaceutical companies.

Job titles in Health Information Management include:

  • HIM Director
  • Clinical Data Analyst
  • Health Data/Information Resource Manager
  • Health Information System Application Designer
  • Compliance Officer
  • Chief Information Officer

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HIM Career Outlook
Health Information career outlook and salary potential are excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in health information is expected to grow by 15% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than the average of all occupations -- because of rapid growth in the number of medical tests, treatments, and procedures that will be increasingly scrutinized by health insurance companies, regulators, courts, and consumers. Also, technicians will be needed to enter patient information into computer databases to comply with Federal legislation mandating the use of electronic medical records.

In addition, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will provide $19 billion in financial incentives to help physicians purchase and implement HIT systems. This will further increase demand for competent HIM and HIT professionals.

HIM Salary
According to the U.S. BLS, Health Information Technicians earned a median salary of $37,1100 in 2015, while Health Managers earned a median salary of $94,500. According to AHIMA's 2012 Salary Survey, health information professionals earned average salaries of $40,930 to $56,807 in 2012, depending on their credentials. >> AHIMA 2012 Salary Survey (pdf)

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HIM Career Advancement
Health Information Management professionals advance in this field by gaining experience, moving to a larger organization where responsibilities are increased, obtaining a higher degree, or earning additional industry certifications.

Individuals with a bachelor's degree in Health Information Management may gain entry-level employment in one of the following areas:

  • Assistant HIM Director
  • Business Process Engineer
  • Coding Specialist
  • Health Information Specialist
  • Patient Information Coordinator
  • HIM Project Manager
  • Consultant
  • Clinical Data Analyst
After receiving some experience in the field, career advancement opportunities include:
  • HIM Department Director
  • HIM Systems Manager
  • Data Quality Manager
  • Health Information Administrator
  • Information Security Officer
  • Privacy Officer
  • Compliance Officer
  • Regional HIM Director
  • HIM Faculty

HIM Education
Health information managers require a bachelor's degree from an accredited program. In 2007, there were 42 accredited bachelor's degree programs and 3 master's degree programs in health information management according to the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. An HIM professional who intends to pursue RHIT or RHIA certification MUST graduate from a CAHIIM accredited program to sit for the exams.

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HIM Professional Certification
Health information managers who have a bachelor's degree or post baccalaureate from an approved program and who pass an exam can earn certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) or Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

HIM Credentials include:

  • Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)
  • Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
More Advanced Certifications include:
  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
  • Certified Coding Specialist-Physician Based (CCS-P)
  • Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS)
>> More about HIM certification and credentials

HIM Professional Organizations

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
    233 N. Michigan Avenue, 21st Floor
    Chicago, IL 60601-5800
Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)
    230 East Ohio Street, Suite 500
    Chicago, IL 60611-3270

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