Four-year bachelor's degree programs in health information management usually include courses in statistics, math, physiology, and computer applications. Students learn about classification systems, healthcare evaluation, and management of health and clinical data. Most programs require that students gain experience through clinical practice at a medical facility. In order to enroll, students need to have a high school education with coursework in statistics, math, anatomy, and physiology. Many schools offer these degrees online or on evenings and/or weekends.
Graduates of these programs must ensure compliance with state and federal laws and improve the quality of entered data. They may also analyze clinical data to evaluate appropriateness and efficiency of services provided, make mandatory reports, manage diseases, and support clinical trials. They may perform some duties of a health information technician, such as entering health data into paper or electronic records, analyzing data to control costs and improve care, or handling coding to aid reimbursement.
Bachelor's Degree in Health Information Management
Most programs require participation in a practicum at a local medical facility. In addition to courses listed under education prerequisites, medical records coursework might include:
- Abstracting health statistics
- Analyzing health information systems
- Evaluation of healthcare
- Finance and productivity
- Improving performance
- Managing clinical and health data
Information gathered from a wide variety of disciplines is incorporated into a health information management program. These include finance, management, medicine, law, and information technology. This range of studies opens up many venues for employment, including:
- Hospitals and clinics
- Accounting businesses
- Educational institutions
- Law firms
- Private consulting
Certification and Continuing Education
Certification for health information managers is voluntary, but according to the American Health Information Management Association, certified information managers tend to earn more than non-certified professionals (www.ahima.org). The credential is the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Recertification is required every two years. There are a variety of ways individuals may fulfill the required 30 continuing education units (CEUs) for recertification, from seminar attendance to writing items for AHIMA's certification exams.
A bachelor's degree program in health information management teaches students the skills necessary to work in a number of different settings managing and filing paperwork and other records for businesses. In addition to employment, graduates can earn professional certification to improve their job prospects.