Roughly 29,000 new medical records and health information roles are projected to open between 2019 and 20297. If you’re considering pursuing one, you may be thinking about earning your degree in health information management. But what does this degree look like and what types of positions and job titles does it help prepare you to pursue?
What Is a Health Information Management Degree?
Health information management (HIM) refers to the collection, organization, storage, and tracking of a patient’s private healthcare information. This can involve the use of software and other digital technology such as electronic health records (EHRs) to input, store, and retrieve a patient’s vital statistics and health history, as well as data related to their diagnoses, testing procedures, and treatment plans.
Earning your degree in health information management can help prepare you to perform these types of functions. For instance, Ultimate Medical Academy’s Health Information Management associate degree program includes classes such as Information Technology in the Healthcare Environment, Introduction to Computer Office Productivity Applications, and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Coding.
Why HIM Is Important
Part of health information management involves ensuring that patients’ records are complete and accurate8. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) reports that, when surveyed, 75% of doctors indicated that they are able to provide better patient care when they have access to this data via EHRs9. It further added that the use of EHRs can even improve the health of groups of patients by helping to identify and manage risk factors associated with serious medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.
Accurate patient data is also important for insurance reimbursement. Insurance companies rely on data submitted by the provider to decide whether a patient’s medical services are covered and, if so, at what rate. If this data is incorrect, it could lead to a denial of reimbursement. This can delay payment to the medical provider while new, updated patient information is provided, which can also create frustration for the patient.
Types of Jobs, Titles, Duties, and Responsibilities
If you are considering a job or career in health information management, there are a variety of entry-level titles that perform these types of functions. They can include:
- Health Information Technician
- Medical Records Technician
- Medical Records Analyst
- Medical Records Coordinator
- Medical Coder
- Medical Billing Specialist
The exact duties for each role will vary, also varying according to the responsibilities required by the specific employing agency or organization. Yet, all involve working with a patient’s private health information within a designated recordkeeping and/or billing system. Keeping this data confidential is another important aspect of holding a health information management role.
Opportunities with More Education
Earning your associate degree in health information management can help prepare you for entry-level positions such as the ones named above. If you want a more advanced career, pursuing your bachelor’s degree can help provide the education needed to hold higher-level roles such as10:
- Revenue Cycle Manager
- Coding Manager
- Director of Clinical Informatics
- Director of Risk Management
- Regulatory Incentive Analyst
- Data Quality Manager
Obtaining a master’s degree may be required (or preferred) if your healthcare career goal is to obtain a position such as Chief Technology Officer, Chief Compliance Officer, HIM Consultant, or Informatics Researcher11.
What Type of Person Would Like Health Information Management?
If you like the idea of working in healthcare but don’t want to provide direct patient care, health information management offers this ability. It enables you to have a positive impact on both patients and the healthcare system while working with technology versus performing exams, diagnostic testing, or treatment-based procedures.
Qualities that are important when working in health information management include the ability to be analytical, paying attention to detail, and being able to work with others who are also involved in patient care and recordkeeping positions12. If you possess any of these are qualities, you may enjoy working in a health information management role.
What You Can Expect in an Entry-Level HIM Position
Many health information management roles involve data entry, data confirmation, and/or data retrieval. Some of this data is basic patient information, such as name, address, and date of birth. Other data involves the use of coding systems to accurately record a patient’s diagnosis, medical testing procedures, and treatment methods.
Entry-level HIM positions can be found at many different types of healthcare agencies. Hospitals, doctors’ offices, insurance companies, and health technology companies can all employ individuals in health management positions.
Interested in Earning Your Health Information Management Degree?
If you are interested in pursuing an entry-level health information management role, earning your degree can help provide the education needed to complete your assigned job tasks. UMA’s Health Information Management associate degree program is an online program that enables you to earn your degree in 18 months6. This course also prepares you to sit for your Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification exam, should you qualify.
Contact us today to learn more or to enroll.
- What jobs can you get with a health information management associate degree? UMA’s Health Information Management Associate Degree helps prepare you to pursue entry-level HIM positions such as health information technician, medical records technician, medical records analyst, and medical records coordinator just to name a few.
- What do health information managers do? Health information managers are responsible for collecting, organizing, storing, and tracking patient health data, many times with the use of technology such as electronic health record (EHR) systems.
- Do I need a bachelor’s degree to work in health information management? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that an associate degree or higher isn’t always required to work in health information management12. However, if you wish to advance within this career path, earning your bachelor’s or master’s degree may be necessary.
- What is a health information management degree? A health information management degree is obtained after successfully completing an educational institution’s required curriculum. For instance, classes included as part of UMA’s Health Management associate degree program include Healthcare Law, Policies, and Ethics; Healthcare Reimbursement & the Revenue Cycle; and Human Anatomy & Physiology I and II.