Health Information Management Career Paths
Individuals trained in Health Information Management can choose from many different career paths since they have knowledge in science, business and information technology. HIM professionals work in a variety of settings including: healthcare facilities, consulting firms, government agencies, insurance companies, healthcare IS/IT vendors, and pharmaceutical companies.
Associate Degree Graduates
Those entering the field with an associate degree from Herzing University will be eligible to take AHIMA’s Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential. They will be prepared for employment in occupations such as:
- Quality Improvement Specialist
- Medical Coder
- Health Information Technician
- Charge Master Auditor
- Documentation Specialist
- Cancer Registrar
- Information Access/Disclosure Specialist
Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management Graduates
Graduates of Herzing's Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management program will not only master the core coding, health sciences and general education requirements, they will also possess a solid understanding of business and management principles and how those are applied to the healthcare field, specifically in the area of medical records and health information documentation. Graduates will be eligible to take AHIMA’s Registered Health Information Associate (RHIA) credential.
Individuals with a bachelor's degree in Health Information Management may gain entry-level employment in one of the following areas:
- Assistant HIM Director – Assist the HIM Director in daily duties and special projects. May include supervision of other department employees.
- Coding Specialist – Assign codes to procedures and diagnosis performed on patients. Requires strong knowledge of medical science, medical terminology, and industry classification systems and coding languages.
- Health Information Specialist or Technician – Verify patient records are complete and accurate. Compile and analyze patient data to help improve patient care and cost structures. Provide documentation for legal actions or research studies.
- Patient Information Coordinator – A new role in this field, patient information coordinators help people manage their health information (such as health history, release of health information) and understand their healthcare provider options.
- HIM Project Manager – Coordinate, implement and supervise projects related to the management of patient data. Example of projects include: transition from paper to electronic filing, change of HIM software, compile and analyze patient data for a clinical trial.
- Consultant – Assist facilities with their HIM needs on a contract or temporary basis. The consultant may be self-employed or work for an HIM consulting agency. Smaller organizations may hire a consultant for basic/general HIM help, while larger organizations may require help to complete a special project or beat a deadline.
- Clinical Data Analyst or Specialist – Perform data management or analyst functions is one or many areas such as medical coding, database research, and specialty registries.
- Research and Decision Support Analyst – Gather data to assist executive management in decision making. Includes research on products, regulations, policies, pricing, and legal cases.
Career Advancement Opportunities
After receiving some experience in the field, career advancement opportunities include:
- HIM Department Director – Manage all operations and personnel in the HIM department. Work with executive management from various departments to provide efficient and secure access to quality patient data. This position may also be called Health Information Administrator or Manager.
- HIM Systems Manager – Guiding, directing and monitoring the day to day operations of patient medical records including: retrieval, assembly, delivery, abstracting/analyzing, coding, completion, transcriptions, release of information, and vital statistics registration. Assist with project planning, implementation, testing and maintenance of HIM applications. Oversee the auditing and correction of database errors as it relates to coding and abstracting.
- Data Quality Manager – Provide continuous quality improvement (CQI) for information integrity through policy development, information audits, and quality monitoring.
- Information Security Officer – Manage the security of all electronic data. Examples of duties: assign user security levels, audit security performance, comply with security regulations and policies. This is a new occupation and may require addition technology training.
- Privacy Officer – Provide guidance, training, monitoring and evaluation for the employer’s privacy program to maintain privacy assurance and protection healthcare information in compliance with federal and state laws and the organization's information privacy practices.
- Compliance Officer - Responsible for creating and/or maintaining a compliance program. Ensures development and implementation of auditing/monitoring programs to measure performance against compliance obligations. Identifies issues that may pose compliance risk.
- Regional HIM Director – Oversee HIM managers and operations for a particular geographic region to ensure quality and accuracy of performance throughout an organization.
For Health Information Management professionals, salaries depend on the individual’s level of education, time and type of experience in the field, credentials earned, and geographic location.
The American Health Information Management Association posted the results of their member salary survey from 2008. Review their findings at AHIMA Salary Survey .
Health Information Managers typically work in a clean, comfortable office environment and receive a comprehensive benefit package that includes health insurance, paid vacation, and a retirement savings plan such as profit-sharing or 401(k). However, some Health Information Management professionals choose to work as a consultant for many different organizations, in which case benefits packages vary.
As this position carries a lot of responsibility, work weeks may often extend beyond 40 hours without overtime pay. Some travel may be required to satellite facilities.
Health Information Management professionals advance in this field by gaining experience, moving to a larger organization where responsibilities are increased, obtaining a higher degree, or earning additional industry certifications.