Bachelor's degree programs in health information management are available fully online, some of them in a degree-completion format. A bachelor's degree may not be required for entry-level health information technician positions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reports that medical records and health information technicians generally have some postsecondary education, often as an associate's degree, in addition to professional certification. The BLS reports that a bachelor's degree is typically the minimum educational level required to work as a medical and health services manager, however.
Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management
Students enrolled in this kind of distance-education bachelor's degree program learn how to collect, analyze and protect health information, such as patient records and clinical data. They also acquire skills in leadership, communication, critical thinking and problem solving. Coursework tends to be very business-oriented, with many classes focusing on the administrative side of healthcare. Other topics of study include computers and technology, anatomy and physiology, statistics and medical terminology.
Program Information and Requirements
Some online baccalaureate programs are traditional 4-year programs, while others are degree completion programs, meaning students complete their 2-year lower-division requirements before enrolling strictly in health information management courses. In most cases, all of the components of the program can be accessed and completed through the Web. Students keep in touch with faculty and fellow students through discussion boards, e-mail, chat rooms and the course website.
List of Common Health Information Management Courses
In order to earn their bachelor's degrees, students must take general education courses in various subject areas--such as English, social science, natural science, mathematics and the humanities--in addition to the health information management courses required for the major.
In this course, students analyze medical terms and learn how they are applied in health records. They also learn about different classification systems, including ICD-10-CM, ICD-10-PCS and SNOMED.
Lessons introduce research methods and data analysis. They cover different ways to report and present data, including through the use of field-specific computer programs.
Some of the skills taught in this course include team building, management and communication. Students strengthen their interpersonal and negotiation skills while engaging in professional development.
Health Information Management
This course introduces the standards and regulations that govern health information management. Students learn about and practice in data collection and documentation.
Healthcare Computer Systems
Students learn about the computer applications used in various healthcare roles, including clinical, administrative and specialty services. Topics include data security, data storage, file structures, communication technologies and use of the Internet.
Career Information for Graduates
Graduates are prepared to work in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, private practices, nursing homes, mental health institutions, prisons, state health departments, law practices and research companies. Possible job titles include health information manager, coding supervisor and patient information coordinator. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) reports that employment for medical and health services managers is expected to grow much faster than average for all jobs, increasing by 17% over the 2014-2024 decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov), medical and health services managers earned an average annual salary of $106,070 as of 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Health information management bachelor-degree holders are eligible to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam while is administered online by the AHIMA. Those seeking further education can look into enrolling in a master's degree program, which are also often offered via the Internet.
Aspiring medical and health services managers can earn an online bachelor's degree in health information management to study healthcare computer systems and medical terminology, as well as develop their leadership and management skills. Graduates may go on to pursue a master's degree in the field, and most will take the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam.