According to guidelines outlined by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), health informatics degrees are normally offered at the master's degree level; however, a student may enter the health information management field at the baccalaureate level through a Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration (HIA). A bachelor's degree in HIA combines general education requirements with core HIA courses such as database design, statistics in healthcare, and management.
Programs are offered both on campus and online and prepare students for the registered health information administrator (RHIA) examination, which is sponsored by the American Healthcare Information Management Association (AHIMA). These four year programs require incoming students to have completed a high school education with basic computer science knowledge and management skills, as well as provide satisfactory ACT or SAT scores.
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Bachelor's Degree in Health Information Administration
HIA courses incorporate information on the impact, uses and applications of technology in healthcare administration. Specific coursework may include management principles, computer science, and the following:
- Legal and ethical issues
- Quality assurance and management
- Systems and database design
- Healthcare statistics
- Research methods
- Medical terminology
Popular Career Options
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), health information management is expected to experience a 15% growth from 2014-2024, faster than the average for all occupations (www.bls.gov). This growth is due to an aging population who are going to need healthcare services. Potential career roles include:
- Health information resource manager
- Healthcare consumer advocate
- Data quality manager
- Medical coder
- Clinical data analyst
The BLS reported a median annual salary of $37,110 for medical records and health information technicians as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Certification through AHIMA is generally expected for employment; therefore, most graduates pursue the RHIA credential. Additional credential options include a certification in healthcare privacy or certification as a health data analyst. Both certifications require a combination of educational and work experience. Master's and doctoral degree programs are available in medical informatics and medical information management for professionals seeking to further their education.
A Bachelor of Science in Health Information Administration, while not as common as its graduate counterpart, provides foundational education in the health informatics field and prepares students for work in a variety of related careers. Certification is expected following graduation, with the more common master's and doctoral degrees available.