Associate's programs are usually designed for those interested in working as a medical records and health information technician, and these programs can prepare students for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Both bachelor's and master's programs prepare students to work as health information managers, and preparation for AHIMA's Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential is often included.
In clinical data management courses, students receive comprehensive knowledge of clinical data, medical terminology and management tools necessary for their field. Students go on to learn about medical terminology, project management and health care management. Courses may be taken online, but schools often include an on-site clinical experience during a degree program. Topics explored in data management courses are as follows:
- Querying methods
- Problem solving
- Leadership tools
- Word roots
- Effective planning
List of Courses
Clinical Data Management Course
Beginning courses in this field cover the fundamentals of retrieving and maintaining specified clinical data. Students examine data collection methods, data quality and how to adhere to FDA laws and regulations. They also learn how to use the appropriate querying methods and technology to receive - and communicate to others - their best results. These clinical data management courses are often taken first within an undergraduate degree program. They may be available entirely online.
Medical Terminology Course
Students study the meaning of medical terms through their definition, pronunciation and spelling. Courses also teach a comparison between layman's terms and formal medical terminology. Students may learn tricks for memorizing stems and roots of words, as well as common abbreviations on charts and records. This course is often available online, and it may be paired with a medical transition course.
Project Management Course
This course delves into the implementation of project management techniques, providing students with the leadership skills necessary to work with, delegate to and even lead other health care specialists. Participants learn how to not only organize and supervise projects, but also personnel. Other topics include budget management and how to set realistic goals. This class may be available online, and some schools offer 'advance project management' classes to complement these entry-level studies.
Health Care Management Course
Because this course emphasizes leadership tools, problem solving and effective planning, it relies heavily on previous lessons and is typically taken toward the middle or end of a clinical data management program. Students explore how to set benchmarks and monitor production. Organizational strategy may or may not be a separate course within a graduate-level curriculum.
Health Information Technology Practicum
This advanced course integrates all the skills, knowledge and behaviors students have learned from prior clinical data management classes. Students research emerging issues and discuss health care trends. They also participate with an approved health care organization to apply learned policies, develop their comprehension and practice management skills. Practicum experiences may be allotted all at once or in smaller parts throughout a degree program curriculum.