Health information management (HIM) is a rapidly-emerging field and is said to be the future of healthcare. Technological advancements combined with high demand for healthcare services are the two driving factors behind health information management. HIM can be defined as the practice of acquiring, protecting, and analyzing medical information.
Health information managers are the care takers of health information who use different systems, tools, and procedures to streamline the process of healthcare service delivery. In simple words, health information managers make sure the right information is available to the right healthcare personnel at the right time and place.
The healthcare industry is expanding fast and opening up many new job opportunities. You can become a part of this field without having to become a doctor or nurse. Health information management careers are gaining importance and have proven to be a suitable career choice for individuals who have interest in computing, management, and healthcare.
Health Information Management Degree Programs
Health information management is being offered as an academic principle by many colleges. Now students looking for a career in this field can prepare themselves with the help of health information management programs.
A bachelor’s degree in HIM can lead to entry-level jobs and administrative positions, whereas a master’s degree can open doors to more advanced and executive positions. The aim of health information management courses is to enable students to apply skills, manage health data, and put management theories into practice.
Associate Degree in Health Information Management
This is an undergraduate program that can be completed in two years. Students will gain a brief understanding of management and administrative practices of healthcare institutions. A health information management associate degree is the most basic qualification you will need for an entry-level or assistant-level job in the industry. Over the two year time period, students will cover a range of subjects that will familiarize them with medical terminology, health insurance, management, and information technology. Here are some subjects that may be covered:
Clinical classification systems
Ethical and legal aspects of HIM
Bachelors in Health Information Management
In this four year degree program, students will develop skills and gain knowledge of the three main facets of the field: business management, health, and technology. The program will teach students how to manage information in healthcare settings, retrieve data, and store data.
In a bachelor of science in health information management degree, students will develop management skills and learn how to practically apply research methods. The learning experience will include training, clinical knowledge, and leadership. Students will learn how to use different research tools and information systems. Here are some of the courses covered:
Anatomy and physiology with human disease
This course is typically covered in the initial phase of the program. It will provide students with a basic understanding of human anatomy, disease processes, physiological terminology, organ systems, and treatments.
Applied information technology
This course will cover the basics of technology and management processes. Students will learn about database management internet technologies, information systems, hardware and software, and the global business environment.
Quality assurance healthcare
This course will highlight the methods used to ensure quality in healthcare systems. Students will learn how to apply the basic principles of quality management, evaluate quality, and manage risks.
Masters in Health Information Management
This is an advanced degree offered to students seeking advanced jobs. The program provides students with thorough knowledge and a deep understanding of health care data resources, administration, security oversight, and information systems development.
This degree will focus on theory-building and skill development. Students will practically learn how to use information systems and conduct resource planning. The courses covered in the program may include the following:
Healthcare financial management
In this course, students will learn about the terminology and concepts used in the financial functions of healthcare. The course will include topics such as cost analysis, finance control, financial statements, and financial forecasts.
This course will cover the design methodologies and analysis techniques used to develop systems.
Project management of health information systems
This course will highlight the technical aspects of health information systems. Students will learn how to identify, analyze, and select information systems.
During the last phase of a master’s degree in health information management, students may be required to complete an internship or develop a research project. The core aim of this project is to give students the opportunity to integrate and apply knowledge acquired throughout the program.
PhD in Health Information Management
Individuals preparing for executive roles in this field may need a doctorate degree. This is the highest qualification one can get, and usually takes four to eight years to complete. The program will equip students with advanced skills in research, theoretical knowledge, and skills needed to handle information management issues faced by institutions today.
A doctorate in health information management can be divided into coursework, examination, independent research project, and final dissertation. Degree candidates will cover courses such as the following:
Health services research
Economics of health care policy
Methods and models of management
Operations and information management
Once the coursework is complete, students must pass certain examinations and define their research project. The project will enable students to practically apply research skills and gain hands on experience. The last phase of the program includes a dissertation.
Health Information Management Certificate and Certifications
Individuals who are looking for a career-switch or enhance their professional credentials can do so by getting a certification. Health information management certificate programs are short courses that are offered by many institutes. These programs will offer students career knowledge and skill, and also prepare them for the certification exam.
To get certified, individuals must pass a health information management certification examination. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is offering a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification. To be eligible for this certification, applicants must have a qualification in HIM.
Technology has revolutionized the traditional mode of learning. Now you can get a degree in health information management online, without having to go to college. Online health information management programs are being offered by many colleges everywhere. An online health information management degree will give you the flexibility and ease you can’t find in on-campus programs.
Depending on your qualification, you can work as a health information manager or administrator. Your main job duties will include:
Directing and supervising administrative functions
Coordinating financial reporting
Planning and implementing programs for training
Analyzing and classifying medical data
According to O*NET OnLine, health information managers, which fall under the category of health service managers, made a median annual income of $92,810 in 2014.