The field of health information management combines the disciplines of medicine, management, finance, information technology, and the law. Health information technicians assemble patients’ medical records, including medical history, symptoms, examination results, diagnostic tests, treatment methods, and all other healthcare provider services. Technicians organize and manage health information data by ensuring its quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security. They regularly communication with physicians and other healthcare professionals to clarify diagnoses or to obtain additional information.
Health information managers hold a range of positions, from managers of health information/medical records departments, information privacy officer, research associate, systems design consultant, data analyst, cancer registrar, and coding compliance analyst. With the increasing use of electronic medical records (EHR), both managers and technicians must be familiar with EHR computer software, maintaining security and analyzing electronic data to improve healthcare information. Information managers’ work may include improving EHR software usability, and the development or maintenance of health information networks.
- Physician offices
- University research departments
- Information technology vendors
Most individuals working in health information management work in an office setting, even though the office may be within a healthcare facility. Those working for vendors may spend a good deal of time on the road, working with clients.
Health information technicians and administrators generally work a 5-day, 40-hour week. Some overtime hours may be required or available. Part-time work may also be available. Those working in round-the-clock healthcare facilities may have day, evening, or night time work schedules.
Employment of health information technicians and managers is expected to increase 20 percent through the year 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. With an increasing use of electronic health records, more workers will be needed to complete and manage the responsibilities associated with electronic data management. Employment growth will also result from an increase in the number of medical tests and treatments.
- Ability to work with a variety of people
- Good communication skills, both verbal and written
- Analytical and problem solving skills
- Ability to utilize information to make decisions
- Organizational skills and attention to detail
Individuals can prepare to enter the health information management field with a diploma, certificate, associate, or bachelor’s degree.
Health Information Technician – Requires an associate degree in health information technology from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs in cooperation with the American Health Information Management Association’s Council on Accreditation. To become an RHIT (registered health information technician), an individual must also pass the national certification exam.
Health Information Administrator – Requires a bachelor’s degree in health information administration from a program accredited by CAAHEP in cooperation with the American Health Information Management Association’s Council on Accreditation. To become an RHIA (registered health information administrator) one must earn a bachelor’s degree and must also pass the national exam.
Programs in Nebraska
- Central Community College – Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings (Diploma, Certificate, Associate)
- Clarkson College – Omaha (Certificate, Associate, Bachelor’s)
- Metropolitan Community College – Omaha (Certificate, Associate)
- Southeast Community College – Lincoln (Diploma)
- Western Nebraska Community College – Scottsbluff, Alliance, Sidney (Associate)
Related / Links
Other careers with responsibilities similar to that of health information technicians:
Other careers with responsibilities similar to that of health information managers:
For more information about a career in health information management:
- American Health Information Management Association
- Nebraska Health Information Management Association
Career information adapted in part from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handook, 2010-2011 Edition, Medical Records and Health Information Technicians, on the Internet at www.bls.gov