A health information management professional has been trained in the newest health information management technology so that they can analyze, obtain and secure the healthcare records of patients. This job is becoming increasingly important over the years as more medical care information is handled digitally. Also, the number of Americans who are growing older and seeking more healthcare services is increasing quickly.
What Is Health Information Management?
Health information management or HIM refers to the practice of acquiring, analyzing, and protecting both digital and regular medical information that is critical to provide the best quality patient care. Health information management is a blend of business, science, and information technology.
HIM professionals have been trained in the most recent information management technology applications. They understand the complex workflow in healthcare organizations, including major hospital systems to private doctor practices. These professionals are vital to the proper daily operations of healthcare facilities as well as efficient management of health information and electronic health records, or EHRs. Health information management is necessary to protect the health information of the patient and to ensure all records are accurate, complete and protected.
Earning a health information management degree is a smart choice in today’s economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that employment in all healthcare occupations will rise by 18% through 2026, which is much faster than average. Approximately 2.4 million new healthcare jobs will be added between 2016 and 2026. In fact, healthcare occupations will add more jobs to our economy than any other field. This is happening because the population of the country is aging, and there is much more demand for healthcare services than a few decades ago.
One of the most common occupations for a professional with a health information management degree is a medical and health services manager. This administrative healthcare professional may be called an healthcare executive or healthcare administrator. They are responsible for planning, directing and coordinating healthcare services. Medical and health services managers may manage an entire healthcare facility, a certain clinical group or even a doctors’ practice.
There are several types of medical and health services manager roles that are most common in the US economy:
- Nursing home administrator: Responsible for managing staff, admissions, finances and building upkeep, as well as residents.
- Clinical manager: Provide oversight of a certain clinical department, including nursing, surgery or physical therapy. Managers in this role will set out policies, goals and procedures for the department, while clinical coordinators will work under the supervision of the manager to meet these goals.
- Health information manager: Responsible for the maintenance and security of patient data and records. It is necessary to stay up to date with changes in information technology, laws or proposed laws regarding health information systems and how to manage large amounts of data.
BLS reports there are 352,200 medical and health services managers working in the US as of 2016. The major employers in the field are:
- Hospitals: 36%
- Doctor’s offices: 11%
- Nursing and residential care facilities: 10%
- Government: 8%
- Outpatient care centers: 7%
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for medical and health services managers is $98,300 as of 2017. The bottom 10% earned $58,000 per year, while the top 10% earned more than $176,000 per year. Generally, bachelor’s degree holders will earn towards the lower end of the scale, and those with a master’s will be in higher management positions and will earn higher salaries.
Median salaries in top industries in this field were:
- Hospitals: $107,200
- Government: $106,000
- Outpatient care center: $89,900
- Offices of doctors: $89,700
- Nursing and residential care facilities: $82,500
Payscale.com reports the median salary for health information managers is $54,900, with a range between $36,000 and $81,000.
Some of the cities with the best prospects for health information management professionals in recent years include:
- Austin TX
- Philadelphia PA
- Columbus OH
- Houston TX
- Cincinnati OH
- Pittsburgh PA
- San Antonio TX
To get a good start in your health information management career, earning a bachelor’s degree is the way to go. Today, there are many online and on campus bachelor’s programs available in health information management. For example, the University of Texas – Dallas offers a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management degree. It is a 120 credit hour, on campus program that provides you with a broad education in healthcare management. You will learn the expertise and knowledge you need to be an effective leader in the healthcare management industry.
Coursework in this four year program is in information technology, international business, human resources, marketing, operations management, organizational behavior, strategic planning and supply side management.
For healthcare professionals who want to accelerate their careers into management or executive positions, consider earning a master’s degree. Arizona State University offers a Master of Healthcare Innovation degree that provides a multidisciplinary, educational way to prepare you for a transformative and innovative role in the healthcare system. You will learn about such critical healthcare topics as change theory, entrepreneurship, leadership, application technology and system design programs.
Coursework includes the following:
- Innovation and the Individual
- Understanding and Applying Principles of Evidence Based Practice
- Systems Thinking in a Complex Environment
- IT for Healthcare Innovation
- Financing for Innovation
- Outcomes Evaluation
- Advanced Principles and Concepts of Innovation
One of the best parts of getting a college education today is that it is no longer necessary to attend campus to earn your degree. Whether you want to earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can earn an online degree from an accredited university from the comfort of your home.
For example, Southern New Hampshire University offers a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Administration degree that focuses on the most important topics in this fast-growing field, from coordinating health services to directing and improving the care of patients.
This four year, online program will provide you with the much-needed skills to work in jobs such as community health manager, health policy analyst or medical services administrator. The curriculum for this healthcare administration bachelor’s degree is based upon the curriculum recommended by the Association of University Programs in Health Administration. Students have the option of focusing on either Health Information Management or Patient Safety and Quality.
Major courses are in healthcare economics, healthcare marketing, healthcare delivery systems, healthcare reimbursement and healthcare finance.
To be admitted into a master’s program in healthcare management, each university will have different requirements. For example, Arizona State University’s master’s degree in healthcare innovation has the following admission requirements:
- 0 GPA
- Three references
- Undergraduate degree in a related field
- Personal statement and writing samples
Each bachelor’s or master’s degree program will have its own healthcare management curriculum. The curriculum for the bachelor’s degree in healthcare management at Western Governors University includes these courses:
- Healthcare Delivery Systems, Regulation and Compliance
- Healthcare Value and Ethics
- Technology Applications in Healthcare
- Financial Resource Management in Healthcare
- Healthcare Operations Management
- Healthcare Quality Improvement and Risk Management
- Healthcare Research and Statistics
Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in health information management can be an expensive endeavor. So it is wise to look for grants and scholarships that can help you to pay for some of the costs. Here are some options to consider:
- Albert W. Dent Graduate Student Scholarship: $5000
- Bachrach Family Scholarship for Excellence in Healthcare Administration: $1000 to $5000
- Bill and Mary Russell Scholarship: $500
- Campus, Safety, Health and Environmental Association Scholarship Award: $2000
- Corris Boyd Scholars Program: $40,000
- David A. Winston Health Policy Scholarship: $10,000
- Elliott C. Roberts Scholarship: $1000
- Foster G. McGaw Graduate Student Scholarship: $5000
Professionals in healthcare information management can enhance their career options with these certifications:
- Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives – FACHE
- Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems – CPHIMS
- Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management – CPHRM
- Certified Medical Manager – CMM
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management – AAHAM
If you want to enhance your education and networking possibilities, consider joining these related associations:
- American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management
- American College of Healthcare Executives
- American Health Information Management Association
- Healthcare Financial Management Association
- National Association of Healthcare Access Management
The health information management field is set to expand very rapidly in the coming years as the US population is getting older and living longer. Earning your degree in this field is a great way to ensure a prosperous career.
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