About the Profession
From the Administrator’s perspective (RHIA):
Health information management (HIM) professionals are the experts who compile, code, analyze, and prepare health information needed by the patient, the health care facility, the public, agencies that pay the claims, physicians and other members of the healthcare team. HIM professionals may also be responsible for supervision of employees and functions. In addition to hospitals, there are many opportunities in a variety of health related organizations, such as clinics, nursing facilities, rehabilitation sites, behavioral health institutes, insurance companies, consulting agencies, vendors, managed care facilities, private physician’s offices, and specialty hospitals.
Working as a critical link between care providers, payers, and patients, the RHIA:
- Is an expert in managing patient health information, administering computer information systems, collecting and analyzing patient data, and using classification systems and medical terminologies.
- Possesses comprehensive knowledge of medical, administrative, ethical and legal requirements and standards related to healthcare delivery and the privacy of protected patient information.
- Manages people and operational units, participates in administrative committees, and prepares budgets.
- Interacts with all levels of an organization – clinical, financial, administrative, and information systems – that employ patient data in decision-making and everyday operations.
- The expertise of the baccalaureate HIM degree graduate lies in the interpretation, analysis, and design of information systems, and management of healthcare information resources and services. The bachelor’s degree professional looks after and interacts with administrative, financial, clinical and information systems using patient data in day-to-day operations and has a higher level of expertise and is able to manage health-related information and administer computer information systems. They use skills of I.T., database security, and networking, as well as have an all-round knowledge of classification systems and health data analytics. The bachelor’s degree professional manages people and is responsible for fiscal activities of the department/facility as well as uses critical thinking and project management skills on a daily basis.
A winning formula of further studies and work experience may help an associate degree (RHIT) professional progress towards the administrative and managerial position of the bachelor’s degree professional and to earn the RHIA credential.
Salaries are competitive with the various sub-specialty opportunities in the health information management (HIM) field. According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), more than half of new health information graduates with bachelor’s degrees start with salaries in the $30,000 to $50,000 range. By five years out, one can earn upwards of $50,000 to $75,000 annually.
From the 2010 AHIMA Salary Survey Summary Analysis found at: