Health Information Technology & Health Information Management Your guide to health information careers, certifications, and education.
Pathways to HIM Careers (provided by AHIMA)
Health Information Management
Career Overview and Degrees
Health Information is Vital to Future Quality of Healthcare
HIM: Key to Quality Healthcare
Health information technology and management is a diverse and developing field that continues to generate strong employment outlook for the future. US News & Report recently named health informatics and health information management as #4 of the top new college majors for the future.
Medical records and health information technicians organize and manage health information data by ensuring its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security in both paper and electronic systems. They use various classification systems to code and categorize patient information for reimbursement purposes, for databases and registries, and to maintain
patients' medical and treatment histories.
Health Information Career Options
Health information professionals work in numerous settings, such as hospitals, physician practices, nursing homes, home health agencies, mental health facilities, ambulatory care centers, specialty clinics, long term care, and public health agencies -- basically anywhere that collects, maintains, analyzes and uses medical records and data.
Health information encompasses a wide range of job functions and settings. Among these are medical records management, privacy officer, risk management, medical coding, corporate compliance, and data analysis and reporting.
Industries with an increased demand for health information professionals include academic institutions, consulting agencies, government agencies, and healthcare software companies. As health information technology (HIT) becomes more prevalent, health information practitioners will continue to be critical components of the electronic health record (EHR) workforce. According to the US Department of Labor, HIT will grow to encompass new support positions, including mobile support adoption positions, public health informatics, implementation support specialists, and information management redesign specialists.
Health Information Technology and Management professionals generally fall into four categories:
Health Information Technology and Management Job Titles
With a Bachelor's Degree:
HIM Department Director
HIM System Manager
Data Quality Manager
Chief Privacy Officer
HIM College Instructor
With an Associate's Degree:
Health Data Analyst
Insurance Claims Analyst
Records Technician Specialist
Clinical Coding Specialist
Physician Practice Manager
Patient Information Coordinator
Health Information Technology and Management Career Outlook and Salary
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. >> AHIMA 2012 Salary Survey (pdf)
2012 AHIMA Salary Survey: Average Salary by Credential
Coding Professional 2010 2012
Other HIM Tech Roles 2010 2012
*Many credential holders can AND do hold multiple credentials.
**The 2012 average salary survey for "Other HIM Technician Roles" holding a CCS-P was based on fewer than 10 respondents.
Health Information Technology and Management Education and Training
Health information technicians (RHITs) generally enter the field after earning an associate's degree in Health Information Technology. In addition to general education, coursework includes medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, legal aspects of health information, health data standards, coding and abstraction of data, statistics, database management, quality improvement methods, and computer science. According to the 2011 AHIMA RHIT Job Survey (pdf), 93% of surveyed RHITs hold a degree. Most (74%) of the surveyed RHITs hold an Associate's degree,16% hold a Bachelor's degree, and 3% hold graduate and post-graduate degrees.
Health information professionals (RHIAs) who plan to advance their careers to the mid-management level or higher can benefit from earning a CAHIIM accredited bachelor's degree in health information management. In addition to mastering technical aspects of health information, the baccalaureate degree graduate gains expertise in the planning, analysis, design, and management of healthcare information resources and services. RHITs pursuing the RHIA certification can enroll in a BS degree completion program or RHIT to RHIA progression program. Upon graduation, they may be eligible for the RHIA certification exam.
Health Information Offers Versatility
By studying health information, students can acquire a versatile yet focused skill set incorporating clinical, information technology, leadership, and management skills. Health information professionals use their knowledge of information technology and records management to form the link between clinicians, administrators, technology designers, and information technology professionals. Health information programs incorporate the disciplines of medicine, management, finance, information technology, and law into one curriculum. Because of this unique mixture, health information graduates can choose from a variety of work settings across an array of healthcare environments.
Careers in health information management can be found in a wide variety of settings, such as:
Clinics and other medical or mental health facilities
Health Information Certifications
AHIMA offers national certifications that are respected and often required in the health information industry. Most employers require technicians to have the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification. Health information technicians can typically advance by specializing or by moving into a management position. In addition to industry experience, many employers require health information managers and administrators to have the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification.
In order to sit for the RHIT or RHIA national certification exams, candidates must complete CAHIIM accredited HIT or HIM degree programs.
Salary and employment figures are based on a national median and may vary by location.
Online Schools - Health Information Technology and Management
Kaplan University Online
Health Information Management
Bachelor of Science (Degree Completion)
The objective of the Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management program is to prepare you with the knowledge, technical skills, and work habits to be an innovative and adaptable critical thinker and problem solver. Individuals that possess these qualities are capable of using available services and technologies to support operations, management, and decision-making initiatives within the health information field. In addition, the curriculum encourages lifelong learning and addresses the evolving professional skills of baccalaureate degree students.
Upon graduation, you may pursue positions that require you to perform either technical or management duties within the health information field. Typical duties may include overall department management; generation and analysis of health care data; implementation of quality improvement processes, risk management techniques, compliance strategies, and reimbursement procedures; research; and evaluation of legal issues. Employment opportunities may exist within hospitals, long-term care facilities, physicians' offices, health maintenance organizations, insurance companies, home health care, consulting companies, computer software companies, and government agencies.
Master of Health Information Management
The Master of Health Information Management is designed to prepare you for a career in senior-level health information management. Based on various global health information management markets, the program incorporates an interprofessional approach to the curriculum through collaborative work.
You will study how to manage health information to support data-driven improvements in clinical, financial, and public health outcomes. The program includes graduate-level courses on senior-level health information management, global health information systems design, selection, implementation, support, and maintenance, epidemiology, quality indicators, systems testing and evaluation, privacy, and decision support and outcome analysis.
Master of Health Informatics
The Master of Health Informatics program is designed to prepare you for a career in health informatics. Based on various global health information management markets, the program incorporates an interprofessional approach to the curriculum through collaborative work.
You will study how to use health informatics to support data-driven improvements in clinical, financial, and public health outcomes. The program includes graduate-level courses on health informatics, health information systems, public policy, laws and legal issues, clinical taxonomies, data analysis, analytics and optimization, project management, organizational development, leadership, innovation, and research.
Forbes School of Business and Technology at Ashford University Online
Business Information Systems
Bachelor of Arts
Build a repository of skills in the modern business environment when you earn your online Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems degree from the Forbes School of Business & Technology™ at Ashford University. This degree program is a great fit if you aspire to be a systems trainer, support specialist, e-commerce developer, or business analyst. Your Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems demonstrates your proficiency at designing, developing, implementing, as well as troubleshooting information systems in a high-tech organization. You will complete online coursework in database management, systems analysis, technology planning, programming concepts, business law, and procurement.
University of Cincinnati Online
University of Cincinnati's commitment to education excellence is recognized through numerous awards and top rankings, such as Top 200 National Universities, Top 100 Public Schools, and #3 Up-and-Coming Schools by U.S. News & World Report.
Master of Science
The online Master of Health Informatics was created by the UC College of Allied Health Sciences in conjunction with the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, home to one of North America's top 20 analytics programs (as selected by InformationWeek). The program consists of 12 three-credit courses designed to provide a well-rounded curriculum with real-world relevance in health care, IT/IS training, analytics, leadership development and project management. The coursework covers topics that can help prepare students for certification. Students will be enrolled in at least 6 credits per term, and can complete the 36-credit-hour program in as few as 24 months.
Ultimate Medical Academy Online
Health Sciences / Healthcare Technology & Systems
Associate of Science
Get the training you need for a career in healthcare technology and systems. Professionals in this field may hold a position as computer technician, electronic data processing auditor or electronic health records specialist. Work environments may include healthcare software companies, medical hardware companies, hospitals and doctors' offices.
As a UMA student in this online program, you'll learn how to configure and troubleshoot healthcare software, help keep health records secure, operate a help desk and more. Some classes you would take include “Introduction to Information Technology,” “Health Records Management” and “Medical Terminology.” UMA provides an engaging online learning experience with personal feedback from instructors, educational videos and live study group sessions.
Colorado Technical University Online
Colorado Technical University has been ranked among the Best Online Bachelor Programs for 2015 by U.S. News & World Report. CTU offers professionally focused degree programs through our award-winning educational model. CTU boasts over 75,000 graduates and is proud to be ranked as a military friendly school.
Healthcare Management / Health Informatics
Bachelor of Science
Colorado Technical University's Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management - Health Informatics degree offers instruction in the business and administrative side of the healthcare industry, including, but not limited to, patient access, revenue cycle management, project management, economics of healthcare, and fundamentals of marketing and human resource management. The Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management degree program with a concentration in Health Informatics is designed to help students obtain the didactic theory and hands-on training required to pursue work in management within a healthcare industry.
Saint Joseph's University Online
Saint Joseph's University commitment to education excellence is recognized through numerous awards and top rankings, such as Top Regional Universities North.
Health Administration / Informatics
Master of Science
The online Master of Science in Health Administration (HAD) from Saint Joseph's University is a practice-based program designed to give you the skills and experience necessary to immediately improve the performance of your organization and advance your own career. Taught by an experience-rich team of professors assembled from various segments of the health care industry, the online Master of Science in Health Administration from Saint Joseph's University goes beyond theories and generalities of Health Administration to deliver practical lessons specific to today's health care challenges. From courses in health care law taught by working health care attorneys, to health care ethics classes led by key executives in the non-profit industry, the online Health Administration curriculum is developed for the modern health care marketplace and delivered by experts in the field.
Effective management, development and evaluation of electronic medical records and other emerging health care technologies is the focus of this concentration. Built for today's rapidly changing digital health care environment, the Informatics concentration covers issues related to IT infrastructure and applications with emphasis on improving the quality of care through enhanced data management.