Those working in health information management help healthcare organizations manage and protect their patients’ private medical information. Individuals in health information management roles often use computer-based systems such as electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic medical records (EMRs) to assist with this.
EHRs and EMRs are computer-based programs used to organize, store, and track patient data. This data includes the patient’s contact information, their symptoms and medical histories, any diagnostic tests that have been completed, and proposed treatment plans.
If you’re interested in this career path, it can be helpful to understand what health information management is and where those in this field work. We talk about both of these here. We also share how to pursue a role in health information management should you decide that this is the right career path for you.
What Is Health Information Management?
Health information management can involve numerous job responsibilities related to patient data recordkeeping. Although these duties can vary from one employer to another, they may include:
- Collecting, organizing, storing, and tracking private patient information within the healthcare organization’s digital recordkeeping system
- Verifying the accuracy and completeness of patient information that is input and stored within the electronic recordkeeping system
- Helping other healthcare staff within the organization access private patient information, if necessary
- Ensuring that private patient information is safeguarded to maintain confidentiality and meet regulatory requirements regarding data privacy
- Preparing and providing reports for the healthcare organization using various EHR and EMR capabilities, sometimes analyzing these reports to look for trends or areas for improvement
Your schedule in this field can vary depending on the employer’s hours of operation. If you work for an organization that is open 24 hours a day, for instance, you may be asked to work nights, weekends, or holidays. Other employers may offer a more traditional work schedule involving typical business hours of Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Health Information Management Work Environments
Health information management roles can be found within a variety of healthcare settings. Some in this role work for physician’s offices, hospitals, home healthcare agencies, or long-term care facilities such as nursing homes. Other health information management roles are employed by insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, or companies that create or manage healthcare recordkeeping software.
Since many healthcare organizations keep patients’ medical records electronically, those in health information management roles sometimes work remotely. These work-from-home positions can help broaden job opportunities for people looking for a role within health information management, enabling them to work for employers who may not be within their geographical area.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of medical records specialists, which is the category in which health information management falls, is projected to increase by 7% from 2021 to 2031, creating approximately 12,300 new positions.1 Part of the reason provided for this expected increase is an aging population. This suggests that there may be a greater need for health information management roles in healthcare organizations that serve older patients in the years ahead.
How to Pursue a Role in Health Information Management
While some employers only require a high school diploma to work in health information management roles within their organization, medical records specialists typically need a postsecondary certificate to enter the occupation, with an associate degree as a possible requirement or preference.2 Some employers may even require a bachelor’s degree for some health information management roles. If you are interested in a career in health information management, you should check the requirements of employers in the areas and settings in which you would like to work to better understand their requirements for entry-level positions.
Some employers may also require or prefer their health information management workers to be certified. One potential certification is RHIT or registered health information technician. RHIT certification can be obtained through the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
Earning RHIT certification involves taking and passing a competency exam. This exam contains between 130 and 160 questions designed to test your knowledge and skills in health information management, and it takes up to 3.5 hours to complete.3 Before registering for the RHIT certification exam, applicants must have successfully completed an associate-level degree program approved by AHIMA.
Start Working Toward a Career in Health Information Management
If you are interested in working in the health information management field, Ultimate Medical Academy (UMA) offers a Health Information Management associate degree program. This program includes both online coursework and a 90-hour practicum in a real-world environment, and it can be completed in 18 months.4
When you enroll in UMA’s Health Information Management associate degree program, you will learn about important topics such as:
- information technology in healthcare
- healthcare laws and policies
- medical coding systems, such as the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and Current Procedural Terminology (CPT)
- pathophysiology and pharmacology
- computer office productivity applications
- the healthcare revenue cycle
UMA’s Health Information Management associate degree program also prepares students to sit for the RHIT certification exam if eligibility requirements are met. This includes having access to an RHIT Certification Prep course at no additional cost to the student.
Why choose UMA? One reason is that UMA’s Health Information Management associate degree program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). UMA’s accreditation for this program has been reaffirmed through [2025-2026]. All inquiries about the program’s accreditation status should be directed by mail to CAHIIM, 200 East Randolph Street, Suite 5100, Chicago, IL, 60601; by phone at (312) 235-3255; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, once you are enrolled in UMA’s Health Information Management associate degree program, you gain access to a wide variety of resources committed to your success. This includes having access to our student support teams.
These teams can help work with you to overcome academic challenges and prepare you to seek a job to start or further your healthcare career. They can also introduce you to one of the 1,000+ employers with whom our Career Services team has worked.
Before making your decision, we encourage you to learn more about UMA and how we can help you work toward your career goals. You are our priority and we will walk with you every step of the way.
1 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Medical Records Specialists. Job Outlook. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-6
2 Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Medical Records Specialists. How to Become a Medical Records Specialist. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-records-and-health-information-technicians.htm#tab-4
3 AHIMA. Certifications & Careers. Certifications. RHIT. https://www.ahima.org/certification-careers/certification-exams/rhit/
4 Completion time can vary based on individual student.