A Degree in Health Information Management 

We often hear of college students getting degrees in software development or cybersecurity, but one area of the industry that goes quite overlooked is health information management, something crucial in the continuation of modern healthcare.

Your tasks while working in health information management involve profound knowledge of information technology, mainly on databases and protection, a strong understanding of federal legislations, and overall competence in administrative work making it more than just an entry-level public health job.

There are many different career paths to take with such a degree, which will be discussed later. 

Health Information Management. A photo of a clinic.

What are some of the responsibilities in this field? 

Modern medicine is an extremely important sector within our economy and is something that indubitably needs to evolve alongside humanity and the new knowledge we obtain through different forms of research. This also means that it had to stay on par with the age of information. 

This meant medicine and technology started intermingling increasingly, which has led the medical field to keep electronic records of patient history and such. The information found on these records has always been sensitive and the interconnectivity of the internet of things means they must be kept safe.

As a worker in this field, your tasks are to handle these documents and make them into electronic records whilst also maintaining confidentiality. 

What education will you need and what will you learn?

The consensus is you need to have concluded at least one year in college, but you can additionally also have certifications as a Registered Health Information Administration, a Registered Health Information Technician, a Certified Coding Specialist, or a Certified Coding Specialist-Physician.

Having experience in the field is also beneficial when placing yourself within this career, be that in coding, database management, or general health information. 

What your education in HIM, or Health Information Management, will include are topics in healthcare revenue cycles that involve both coding and knowledge on billing, learning how to maintain various procedures such as maintaining confidentiality, following regulation with proper accreditation, and so on. 

The software this line of work most often uses is called EPR Software, or Electronic Patient Record Software, which is used to store information on patients. There is also EMR Software or Electronic Medical Record Software, that is used to store patient data on prescriptions, past consultations, and so on.

What is the salary range for HIM?

The average salary range for health information management is from $25k to over $75k a year. The most common yearly salary is around $40k. 

Careers within the world of Health Information Management 

Technology is a good career path, especially when linked to medicine, a field that is ever-evolving and there are many options depending on what specializations you are willing to acquire.

Billing and Coding Specialist 

A hospital technically runs like a company, and as a billing and coding specialist, your job is to be a form of accountant for your company. You handle a range of tasks from customer service to handling confidential patient information as well as billing duties.

In this line of work, you not only need to learn how to code, account, and bill, but also have strong interpersonal skills to communicate with patients, supervisors, and so on. 

Clinical Informatics Specialist 

To become a clinical informatics specialist you need to first and foremost be a registered nurse or have a bachelor’s degree in Science of Nursing. 

The main task when pursuing this career is creating user interfaces and training staff to use them for data entry and data evaluation. Your duties include coordinating, information system integration, as well as further developing new systems or evaluating current ones to better them. 

You should also have extensive knowledge of databases, customer relationship management databases, and general information systems. 

Medical Credentialing Specialist

The most important thing to becoming a medical credentialing specialist is getting a certification to pursue this job. Your tasks entail working with medical staff members to maintain their licensing and credentials up to date.

This includes updating the NPI’s, or National Provider Identifier’s information, to ensure all new employees have their credentials that are also up to date, updating credentials, checking excluded providers, preparing practitioner evaluation summaries for committees, and so on. 

Essentially it becomes your job to keep official papers up to date and everything monitored, organized, and legal whilst making sure practitioners stick to laws and regulations in their area.

Health Educator

Educating groups, in general, is an important factor in maintaining health amongst the population, and health educators are here to do just that.

Health educators can work for various types of sectors, ranging from non-profits, healthcare facilities, colleges or schools, and so on. Educating groups with general knowledge and good practices means you teach them wellness and disease prevention, educate them on common health issues, and so on. 

Your job may also ask you to educate community health workers as well as train them.

Why you may want an HIM degree

If you love working with data or around databases and also have a passion for the medical field this job is for you. It isn’t as high stakes as other professions in this field but still sets you right in the middle of being surrounded by medicine.