A bachelor's or master's degree is required in order to pursue a career as a health information manager. Certification is typically voluntary, although it may be required by some employers and can increase job prospects for those seeking work in this field.
Health information managers are generally in charge of the security and integrity of electronic patient data. A bachelor's or master's degree is typically required to work in the field. Though not required, certification is an option for degree holders.
|Required Education||Bachelor's or master's degree|
|Other Requirements||Voluntary certification to become a Registered Health Information Administrator|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||17%|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$106,070|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Health Information Manager Job Description
The main duty of health information managers is managing and securing patient records. They spend a lot of time working with computers and software to comply with federal mandates for electronic storage of patient information. Health information managers must make sure that these records are accurate and complete since they may be used for research or quality management. They also must make sure that databases are secure and may only be accessed by authorized personnel.
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Health Information Management
In order to become a health information manager, a bachelor's degree is required. Master's degree programs are also available for those who seek further education in health information management, but it is not necessary to enter the field. Certification is available to those who have bachelor's or master's degrees and is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Those who pass the certification exam earn the title of Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA).
Bachelor's Degree in Health Information Management
Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in health information management can expect to take courses in statistics and research methods, electronic health records and health information services management. Other topics include legal and ethical issues in medicine, privacy and security of health data, financial management and quality management. Many programs require a senior capstone project in which students research an issue in healthcare that relates to health information management. Online programs are quite common for this major and are available to students who need a flexible schedule or to those do not want to attend an on-campus program.
Master's Degree in Health Information Management
Those who already work in health information management and are seeking career advancement may decide to enroll in a master's degree program. A master's degree program is also an option for those who already have a bachelor's degree in another subject and would like to start a career in health information management. Course topics in master's degree programs are very similar to those in bachelor's degree programs. Topics may include statistics, financial management, medical terminology and legal issues.
Students can choose to enroll in a course-based program if they are more interested in working as a health informatics field professional. Also available are research-based programs, for those interested in working in health informatics research.
Certification in Health Information Management
Both bachelor's and master's degree programs prepare graduates to sit for the RHIA examination administered by AHIMA. Certification shows that an individual has reached a nationally recognized standard in terms of knowledge and skill level in health information management. For this reason, certification may be helpful when seeking employment.
Health Information Management Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical and health services management positions were predicted to increase by 17% from 2014-2024, which was much faster than average. This growth was due to an aging population and more complicated medical services technologies. Medical and health services managers earned mean yearly wages of $106,070 in May 2015.
Health information managers are responsible for overseeing the process of updating, storing, and securing patient data. They must be aware of and follow federal mandates regarding patient data and take appropriate measures to ensure that such data is available only to specific individuals.