What is a health information manager?

The demand for Health Information Management Professional is expected to increase 20 percent by 2018 - according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and AHIMA.

See Also:

AHIMA Salary Study

Kansas Health Information Management Association

AMA: Salaries for health care professionals, including health information managers

Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook

HIM Careers
 
AHIMA Career Center

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Health information management is a combination of business, science, and information technology. These professionals are managers: experts in processing, analyzing and reporting information vital to the health care industry, respected staff members who interact daily with the clinical and administrative staff, all of whom depend on health information to perform their jobs.

A blend of business and computer expertise, health information management links health care clinicians with information technology and is the bridge between patients’ health information and health insurers, state and federal government, and other regulating agencies.

As a vital member of the health care team, the health information manager is responsible for managing health information systems. This professional plans and develops health information systems that meet standards of accrediting and regulatory agencies. They also design health information systems appropriate for various sizes and types of health care facilities. The Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) serves as an advocate for privacy and confidentiality of health information and plans and offers in-service educational programs for health care personnel.

Health Information Management diagram of intersecting areas of skill

HIM professionals do not just work in hospitals. They work for accounting firms, insurance companies, information systems vendors, government agencies, pharmaceutical research companies, and others. Wide varieties of employers actively recruit health information managers. According to the department of labor, employment opportunities for Health Information Management (HIM) professionals continue to grow much faster that the average for all occupations.

What are salaries like for HIM professionals?
Because there are multiple job opportunities available to HIM graduates, salaries vary significantly depending on job responsibility and title. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the Advance for Health Information Management magazine both publish information from salary surveys. Note that salaries differ not only between job types but also geographic locations.

Health Information Management student working at computer

Upon successful completion of the Health Information Management program, the student receives a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Information Management (HIM) and is then eligible to sit for the national registry exam. Graduates receiving their RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator) credential may look for career choices not only in acute-care settings, but in all types of alternative care settings, as well as in education, business, and legal settings. Services provided in these areas range from technical to administrative, with emphasis being placed on the latter.

There are multiple job opportunities available to HIM graduates. The following is just a sample of jobs in various practice settings:

Traditional Settings  
Management, HIM (Medical Records) Responsible for the day-to-day operations of an HIM Department, maintains a budget, oversees staff, interacts with other hospital departments, plans for the department.
Tumor registry Reviews, abstracts, and codes clinical cancer information in order to comply with government regulations.  Maintains a database.  Also provides data for physicians and research studies.
Coding Reviews medical documentation and assigns appropriate ICD-9-CM and/or CPT codes in order for billing to occur.
Trauma registry (E.R.) Collects, codes, and maintains data unique to trauma registry, maintains a database.  Assists with research projects, performance improvement, and administrative  planning.
Transcription Responsible for providing accurate and timely reports for patient care, documentation and billing. 
Quality Improvement Collect and summarize performance data, identify opportunities for improvement, and present data to other clinicians and administrative staff.
Release of Information Track, process, and evaluate requests for release of medical information. Requires knowledge of federal and state laws, as well as HIPAA regulations.
Patient Admissions Responsible for patient admission, insurance verification, database maintenance.  Oversees a staff, maintains a budget, communicates with other hospital departments.
Compliance Auditor Responsible for conducting chart audits, preparing reports, and reporting data.  Also, develops policies and procedures for staff training.
Physician Accreditation Maintains databases with physician information in order to provide data to administrative staff for physician accreditation.
Utilization Reveiw Works closely with clinicians to analyze patient records in order to determine admission criteria and use of resources for length of stay.   Must be knowledgeable of insurance requirements.
Physician offices Manages day-to-day operations of a physician office, including scheduling, billing, staffing, budgeting, record keeping, and reporting.
Risk Management Collects, evaluates, and maintains data concerning patient injuries, claims, worker’s compensation, etc.  Reports data to administrative staff and makes changes to policies and procedures as needed. 
   
Non-Traditional Settings  
Consulting firms Works with various clients to provide HIM expertise.
Government agencies Possible job opportunities involve working with CMS, the CDC, the FDA, etc.
Law firms Provide HIM expertise to areas within health law, knowledgeable of HIPAA, federal and state regulations concerning health care.
Insurance companies Work with various providers in order to negotiate contracts, assist clients with claims.
Correctional facilities Maintain health records, perform quality reviews, assist in research studies.
Extended care facilities Maintain health records to provide a continuum of care, comply with federal and state regulations, conduct quality reviews, maintain accreditation requirements.
Pharmaceutical Research
    Statistician
    Clinical Trials Coordinator
    Data Manager
Provides data management services in order to meet customer needs.  Manages projects, staff, and timelines.
Information Technology
    System Analyst
    Project Manager
    Data Manager
Works with software vendors to design clinical software, provides training to end-user staff, assists with system installations, provides system support.
Medical Software Companies
    Software Designer
    Software Tester
Designs and develops databases, performs various software testing, assists clients with system installations.
Last modified: May 02, 2013
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