What is HIM? Exploring Health Information Management

HIM, or health information management, focuses on maintaining a hospital’s overall information systems such as patient records. This role is integral to the security, safety and general maintenance of a medical facility. Individuals in this field are fundamental to the everyday function of a hospital because they perform clinical, operational and administrative tasks.

The role of a HIM manager is to coordinate all medical records at a hospital, private practice office or other healthcare organization to ensure accuracy and security. In this job, it is important to ensure that all information is maintained in accordance with ethical and legal guidelines, especially with regards to federal law restricting release of medical information.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act passed in 1996 set national standards for protecting individual health information. HIPAA’s privacy rule focuses on ways in which healthcare data protects an individual’s medical records. It gives the patient the right to obtain a copy of their records and issue any corrections. The security rule focuses on ways in which records are stored and transferred. Because new technologies develop quickly, it is important for health information professionals to be vigilant about potential security risks and measures.

They may also be responsible for overall leadership tasks, such as developing a budget, maintaining patient records and overseeing general department activities. As technology continues to become prevalent in healthcare, it has become increasingly important for HIM managers to have a working knowledge of medical coding and relevant programs.

Health Information Management Job Requirements and Salary

In this field, candidates often start as health information technicians. They typically need a postsecondary certificate for the position, although some employers will require an associate degree. The median annual wage for this position was $39,180 in May 2017.

As candidates advance, more education and certification may be required. Most HIM managers hold a bachelor’s degree, and some go on to complete a master’s degree in health information management or health informatics to deepen their expertise. The added education pays off in more than just career advancement; HIM managers earn a median annual salary of $54,000, and some report receiving regular bonuses.

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Avila University offers a fully online B.S. in Healthcare Management.

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In addition to education requirements, most employers expect extensive experience in the field. Some also require further certification through professional organizations such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).

Health Information Management Career Outlook

What is HIM and its career outlook going to look like in the coming years? As healthcare regulations and technology advances, health information provides the patient data needed for clinics, hospitals and physician offices to successfully navigate the changes. As a result, HIM professionals can expect to be in high demand for the foreseeable future. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites medical records and health information technicians as one of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the U.S. and is projected to grow 13 percent from 2016 to 2026.

The increased demand is partly due to an increase in the aging population, which will require more medical services. HIM professional will be needed to handle the increase in health information data, send reimbursement claims to insurance companies and more. Added records combined with an amplified use of electronic health records will lead to an increased need for technicians to organize and manage the associated information in all areas of the healthcare industry. As the demand for technicians rises, so will the need for management in the field.

There are a wide variety of possible career tracks in this field, so there is a path for nearly all interests and passions. Some of these tracks include:

  • Coding: Medical coding is translating diagnoses, procedures and medical services into universal alphanumeric codes.
  • Informatics: Health informatics is information engineering applied to the field of healthcare. Essentially, this field focuses on the generation, distribution, analysis and use of patient healthcare information.
  • Data analytics: Healthcare analytics is the examination of patterns in various healthcare data (claims, research and development and patient behavior, among others) with the goal of bettering the policies and procedures within the healthcare system or facility.

Why Avila University?

Enhance your knowledge of the healthcare industry and become an expert in management with Avila University’s online B.S. in Healthcare Management. Our program teaches courses focused on topics such as organizational behavior, proposal writing techniques, micro and macroeconomics, statistical analysis and much more.

We understand that you have responsibilities that come before earning a degree. Our flexible and easily accessible courses help keep you on track to earning a degree. Web access to every course, helpful study resources and exclusive tutoring opportunities help ensure that you’ll succeed.

Take the next step to a successful healthcare management career with Avila University.

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