Health Information Management Professionals

Health Information Management Professionals

Every service that a patient receives within a health care system is recorded and maintained in a computer database. The Health Information Management Professional monitors, maintains, and analyzes the data that keeps the hospital or health care practice working smoothly.

Description of the profession and the daily work:

The Health Information Management Profession has become a significant job within theĀ  health care career system due to the increasing importance of medical records and the sophisticated technology used to track them. As an HIM professional you will manage the collection, analysis, and use of information that guides the healthcare industry. At the heart of the profession are both computerized and paper records which document a patient’s history of illness and related medical treatment. The HIM professional collects many kinds of data from a variety of sources, monitors the integrity of the information, makes sure there is appropriate access to health records, maintains the privacy and security of the information, and manages the analysis and use of this data. You will be required to have a unique understanding of how health data is gathered, how it can be used while protecting its confidentiality, and how it can be interpreted.

If you choose to work in Health Information Management, there are many levels, job titles and categories within health records and data from which to choose – and you can pick the best ones for you with a little more healthcare career information. The American Health Information Management Association accredits all the following positions through education, experience, and a national certification examination:

  • Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) typically requires a bachelor’s degree
  • Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) typically requires an associate degreeRegistered Health Information Administrators collect, interpret, and analyze patient data. The RHIA is a manager as well as an information specialist. They set up and maintain health information systems that meet medical, administrative, ethical, and legal requirements. As a result, RHIAs work within all levels of an organization that use patient data in decision making and every day operations.Registered Health Information Technicians ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems. They may also use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data for the purpose of improving patient care or controlling costs. They consult classification manuals and computer software to assign the patient to a diagnosis-related group, which will determine the amount that the hospital will be reimbursed by the government or insurance company. RHITs often specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research.

    Health Information professionals work in hospitals, clinics, physician private practices and health departments and insurance companies. They typically work in an office setting, Monday-Friday, 40 hours per week. All positions within this field require proficiency with computers, careful attention to detail, and the ability to work independently.

    Other job descriptions in information management that you may see in health care facilities include: Health Information Manager, Record Management Administrator, Records Coordinator, or Patient Account Manager. All of these titles are within the category of information management in a health care setting.

    Education Requirements, Licensure/Certification:

    The requirements for Health Information professionals vary based on the type of position you have. The Health Information Administrator typically holds a bachelor’s degree. The Technician level position likely requires an associate degree. To ensure your competency in a growing and changing field, many organizations are beginning to require certification.

    Career Path and/or Opportunities for Growth:

    Health Information Technicians may move into a higher-level administrative position such as the Health Information Administrator or other management role. This career move would require a four-year degree. In general, those working in health information advance by either specializing (such as in a cancer registry) or moving into a management or supervisory position. The job outlook for professionals in healthcare information management at all levels is strong.