Distance Learning Degree Program in Health Information Management

Apr 24, 2020

Essential Information

Health information management professionals collect, analyze and safeguard patient information used in various healthcare processes. An online bachelor's degree program in health information management is often designed with the working healthcare professional in mind. Some programs are offered totally online, while others are available in blended formats that include hands-on training. Some programs require students to complete a supervised field experience prior to graduation.

Bachelor's in Health Information Management

A bachelor's degree program in this field prepares students for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certification exam. Through their coursework, students have the chance to develop effective communication and critical thinking skills as well as learn about responsibilities and trends in the field.

Course Topics

  • Computer systems in healthcare
  • Clinical terminologies and classification systems
  • Financial and resource management
  • Statistics and research methods
  • Human resources management
  • A capstone project may make up the final course.

Practical Component

Some online bachelor's degree programs in health information management integrate a supervised field experience in a healthcare location close to the student. Through these, students are able to gain hands-on skills and observe industry professionals undertake tasks in quality assessment, billing, project management and health information reporting.

As part of the professional practical experience, some online programs may integrate virtual labs that allow students to practice utilizing industry software. The computer programs students learn to navigate are used for patient information, document management and electronic record keeping.

Online Learning

Given the asynchronous flexibility of distance learning, students can attend classes electronically without disrupting their work schedules. Students submit assignments, listen to lectures and take exams over the Internet. Also, online students utilize the latest in distance learning technology, such as group conferencing software and instant messaging.

Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested that job opportunities for health information technicians were expected to increase by 11% from 2018 to 2028. This much faster-than-average job growth was expected due to the increase of medical tests and treatments and the need for patient information to be entered into databases.

Job opportunities should be strongest for candidates who have a background in medical coding in addition to the appropriate degree. The median salary for medical records and health information management technicians was $42,630 as of 2019 (www.bls.gov).

Online healthcare information management programs help students develop administrative and technological skills, and they emphasize the ways in which these skills can be applied within medical institutions. Because of improvements in educational technology, such as virtual labs and teleconferencing, graduates of these programs are just as prepared for RHIA certification as students who complete their degrees on campus.

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