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Health Information Management Professional
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  Who is a Health Information Management Professional?

Health Information Management Professionals are the stewards and guardians of patient health information. They represent the patient’s interests in matters of privacy and security, information release, issues and guidelines regarding record access, and general consumer education about personal health records.

They specialize in managing patient health information and medical records, administering computer information systems, and classifying using standard coding systems, the diagnoses, and procedures for health care services provided to patients.

  What does a Health Information Management Professional do?

Those with health information management and health information technology careers manage all aspects of the content of patient medical records and patient information systems. Job responsibilities can include aspects of clinical information documentation capture and maintenance, data analytics and interpretation, as well as designing, implementing, and maintaining health information technology systems.

Committed to the timely and accurate collection of health information and its maintenance, storage, retention, and disclosure, Health Information Management Professionals ensure that such information is kept private, secure, and in accordance with federal and state laws.

Health Information Management Professionals fall into many job categories with varied titles, including:

  • Health Information Management Department Director
  • Health Information Management System Manager
  • Information Security Officer
  • Chief Privacy Officer
  • Health Data Analyst
  • Health Record Technician Specialist
  • Clinical Coding Specialist
  • Patient Information Coordinator
  • Physician Practice Manager
  • Health Information Administrator
  • Revenue Cycle Specialist
  • Director of Quality Management
  • Health Information Manager
  • Health Information Technologist/Technician

  What education, training, and experience must one have to function as a Health Information Management Professional?

There are several academic options to pursue a career in health information management and health informatics. Choices include a bachelor’s or master’s degree in health information management, or health informatics, as well as health information technical training at the two-year associate degree level and pre-degree certificate programs in clinical coding.

  What are the typical day-to-day activities of a Health Information Management Professional?

The typical day-to-day activities of a Health Information Management Professional include:

  • collecting, aggregating, analyzing, and disseminating patient health information for doctors’ offices, hospitals, managed care organizations, insurance companies, research and policy agencies, and other health care facilities and related industries
  • providing accurate coding of diagnoses and procedures from patient visits with health care providers, ensuring accurate patient billing and proper reimbursement to health care providers
  • compiling and analyzing health care data from patients, assisting with the identification of ways to better utilize health care resources, uncovering public health patterns, improving patient care, and providing critical information for health care research
  • developing policies to support the delivery of high quality health care by ensuring the availability of quality information for accurate health care decision making

  Must a Health Information Management Professional be licensed or certified to function in his or her role as part of a health care team?

Health Information Management Professionals may possess associate, bachelors, or masters degrees, and are certified by the American Health Information Management Association, the national association of Health Information Management Professionals. They earn credentials through a combination of education, experience, and performance on national certification exams. Certifications include:

  • Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA): RHIAs hold a bachelor’s or postgraduate degree and are skilled in the collection, interpretation, and analysis of patient data. In addition, they often serve in managerial positions related to these functions.
  • Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT): RHITs hold a minimum of an associate’s degree and are health information technicians who ensure the quality of medical records by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems.

The following specialty certifications are also offered by the American Health Information Management Association.

  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS): The CCS is skilled in classifying medical data from patient records, generally in the hospital setting.
  • Certified Coding Specialist-Physician-based (CCS-P): The CCS-P is a coding practitioner with expertise in physician-based settings, such as physician offices, group practices, multispecialty clinics, or specialty centers.
  • Certified Coding Associate (CCA): The CCA is a coding practitioner with an understanding of entry-level coding applications, including medical terminology, disease processes, pharmacology, and ICD-9-CM and CPT medical coding.
  • Certified in Healthcare Privacy (CHP): The CHP demonstrates competency in designing, implementing, and administering comprehensive privacy protection programs in all types of health care organizations.
  • Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS): The CHPS denotes advanced competency in designing, implementing, and administering comprehensive privacy and security protection programs in all types of health care organizations.

  Professional organization for Health Information Management Professionals:

Contributed by:
Craig May, American Health Information Management Association

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