If you’re considering a career in health information management—also sometimes referred to as health information technology—understanding the duties and responsibilities this type of position entails can help you decide whether it is the right choice for you. It can also be helpful to see a typical job description, providing a better idea of the tasks you may be assigned. Let’s start by taking a quick look at what a health information manager does.
What Does a Health Information Manager Do?
Health information management (HIM) professionals assist healthcare agencies with the organization, storage, and tracking of their patient’s health-related data. This information can be used to track the patient’s health over time. It can also be used to identify healthcare trends for a larger section of the population or to learn more about whether a specific treatment might be effective for certain medical conditions.
Health Information Manager Duties, Roles, and Responsibilities
What exactly does it mean to help healthcare agencies organize, store, and track patients’ health-related data? While each employer can set its own requirements for health information management roles, job duties and responsibilities might include:
- Reviewing patients’ digital health records to ensure that they are complete and accurate
- Inputting or verifying classification codes for patients’ diagnoses, testing procedures, and/or treatments
- Updating or organizing healthcare data within clinical databases
- Compiling reports as requested
- Assisting with the safe and secure storage of private patient data
Common Job Titles for Health Information Managers
Not all HIM jobs carry the title of “Health Information Manager.” Some of these positions have other titles, even though the individuals in these roles perform functions related to health information management. A few common job titles for those working in this field include:
- Health Information Technician
- Medical Records Technician
- Medical Records Analyst
- Medical Billing Specialist
- Medical Coder
What a Typical Job Description Looks Like for an Entry-Level HIM Position
Each employer sets its own requirements for the health information management professionals it employs. Though, generally speaking, the job descriptions can be broken down into two basic sections: duties and qualifications.
In this section, the employer shares some of the tasks the HIM professional will be expected to perform. Some employers are more detailed in this section than others. Additionally, while this list is not all-inclusive, it does provide an idea of the duties and responsibilities associated with this role for that specific employer.
Here’s an example of what this section may look like:
“The Health Information Management Technician is responsible for functions such as utilizing patient charts to determine whether the information is complete and accurate, prepping and scanning health records for storage and retention, locating records as requested, and tracking patient data using the employer’s chart management system.”
In the second section of the job description, the employer typically lists the qualifications it requires for persons in this position. Again, these qualifications can change from one employer to the next. Whereas one employer may require only a high school diploma, for instance, another may require an associate or bachelor’s degree. Some employers may also require that their HIM professionals possess specific certifications.
Here’s an example of what this section of the job description may look like:
- 18 years of age or older
- High school diploma or GED
- Experience preferred
- Basic computer proficiency
- Good organizational skills
- Ability to problem-solve
In some cases, qualifications may be listed as being “preferred” or “desired.” This means that, though not necessary, job candidates possessing these credentials may receive a higher level of consideration.
Where Health Information Managers Work
Many different organizations within the healthcare field employ health information management professionals. HIM roles can be found in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and urgent care centers. They can also be found within health insurance companies and health technology companies. This provides a variety of potential work environments for those who are interested in a HIM role.
Who Do You Work With as a Health Information Manager?
In an entry-level health information management position, you might work with doctors, nurses, and other medical staff who regularly access patient files. You may also interact with staff assigned to billing and collections, or other finance and recordkeeping personnel.
Higher-level HIM positions, such as those in management or supervision, might also be required to work with company leaders to discuss and/or create policies and procedures for those working in other health information management roles.
Average Salary for Health Information Management
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in May of 2020, health information management specialists working in hospitals earned a median annual wage of $46,880 and those working in non-hospital settings had a median wage of $44,090 per year1. Your exact pay can vary based on a variety of factors, some of which include your level of education and experience, whether you hold any certifications, and your geographical location.
What Degree Do You Need to Be a Health Information Manager?
Some healthcare organizations only require a high school diploma or its equivalent to provide health information management duties. Others require a postsecondary or degree in health information management, health information technology, or a similar field. That’s why it’s important to know the qualifications requested by the healthcare company in which you want to work.
If your career goal is to advance into a higher-level HIM position, certification and/or a degree may be required. So, it may be beneficial to consider what your ideal career path looks like when determining whether a degree is needed to get where it is you want to go.
Should you decide to pursue your degree, Ultimate Medical Academy offers a Health Information Management Associate Degree program. This program teaches students some of the skills needed to work in HIM roles, such as those related to coding, healthcare reimbursement, statistics, project management processes, and more.
UMA’s Health Information Management Associate Degree program can be completed in 18 months6 and includes a 90-hour practicum. This provides real-world training at an actual healthcare organization. Upon completion of the program, students are eligible to sit for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification exam.
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- What does a healthcare information manager do? While exact duties can vary, health information managers help healthcare organizations organize, store, track, and secure patients’ private medical record information. Individuals in management roles can be tasked with overseeing others working in HIM roles, as well as assisting with the development and/or implementation of information management policies and procedures.
- What kind of jobs can you get with health information management? There are a variety of titles that fall under the umbrella of health information management. A few of the entry-level titles include Health Information Technician, Medical Records Analyst, and Medical Biller or Coder.
- What degree do you need to be a health information manager? Not all employers require a degree to provide health information management duties. So, it’s important to check with the organization with which you want to work. If your goal is to advance to a higher-level HIM position, a degree in health information management, health information technology, or a similar field may be required.