7 Jobs You Can Get With a Health Information Management Degree
The health information management field has been around for decades—but what health information management encompasses today is a far cry from what the field looked like during its infancy back in the 1920s.
From medical records documented in paper form and manually filed by “records librarians” to the streamlined electronic health records (EHR) systems utilized in today's digital landscape, electronic health record information has come a long way.
Just as our steady advancements in technology pave the way for all kinds of new possibilities when it comes to medical treatment, our evolving digital capabilities also call for a range of health information management jobs to maintain the necessary balance of healthcare knowledge and tech prowess.
What is health information management?
Patient records and other health information data can include everything from symptoms and diagnoses to procedures and outcomes. If you looked through one person's health information medical records, for example, you might see past lab results, X-rays, clinical notes from previous visits and more.
Health information management (HIM) is about creating, handling, securing and utilizing that data.
Professionals with health information management jobs work to ensure patient health or medical records are complete, accurate and continually protected. They train in the latest information management technology and tailor their system to their specific healthcare environments, from large hospital systems to private practices.
Why is health information management important?
Proper documentation of patient medical records results in reduced medical errors, lower costs and improved patient care outcomes. The health information management field is all about keeping patients safe and enhancing the power of healthcare.
Medical records are helpful on an individual basis to evaluate a patient's health status over time.
But they can also serve an important purpose as a part of a larger data set to understand how a population's health has changed and how particular medical interventions can impact healthcare outcomes.
Why do people choose health information management?
The growing importance of Health Information Management degrees cannot be overstated as the healthcare industry continues to evolve. With the increasing reliance on electronic health and medical records, professionals in this field are essential in maintaining accuracy, security, and compliance in medical documentation.
The need for professionals who can manage aspects of our complicated healthcare industry is high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for medical and health services managers is projected to grow 28 percent from 2021 to 2031!2 That rate is much faster than the average for all occupations.
HIM professionals use their valuable information technology expertise to improve healthcare outcomes and efficiencies—which is a lifesaver for hospitals as well as actual human beings.
A Health Information Management bachelor's degree can help equip you with essential skills to handle the unique challenges faced by healthcare organizations. Students learn to harness the power of information technology to streamline operations and enhance patient care.
Serving as a bridge that connects clinical, operational and administrative functions, health information management pros work in a variety of settings and in a number of different job roles—so let's dive into what they are.
If you're curious about seeking a health information management degree or working in health information management, consider the following seven health information management careers you could potentially pursue with a degree in the field.
7 Health information management jobs to consider
To help you gain a clearer understanding of what health information management jobs would be like, we identified some of the more common job titles seeking candidates with a Health Information Management Bachelor's degree.1
1. Health information manager
Working as a health information manager in a healthcare facility, you would be responsible for maintaining and ensuring the security of all patient records and data—and you'll likely oversee other positions such as a health information technician, a medical records technician, a data quality manager and other health information specialists.
Professionals in this healthcare environment are tasked with liaising with their human resources department to stay up to date with consistently evolving health information management degree jobs and technology. Along with keen management skills, health information managers sometimes have basic clinical experience—and a working knowledge of the day-to-day activities of the facility.
Health information managers also oversee medical recordkeeping teams and often act as a compliance officer to ensure departments comply with federal regulations and laws relating to health information systems.
2. Medical coder
A type of health information technician, medical coders are typically responsible for reviewing all patient information for issues like preexisting conditions, so the data can be coded properly.
They are then tasked with assigning appropriate diagnoses and procedure codes for patient care, population health statistics and billing purposes.
In fact, medical coders work as a sort of a liaison between the healthcare providers and the billing offices—often passing patient information between both departments.
3. Data analyst
In general, a data analyst in healthcare studies and compiles medical data. Their expertise in computer-based applications and health information technology empowers these professionals to identify insights from medical data regarding ways to improve patient care.
By tapping into patient health data, analysts are able to gauge the effectiveness of certain treatments or determine the impact of cost-saving efforts and patient safety initiatives.
4. Outpatient coding compliance auditor
Medical record audits are a key way healthcare organizations seek to improve their clinical documentation and improve the financial health of the medical provider.
Working as a medical coding compliance auditor, you'd be responsible for performing such audits, which include a review of clinical documents, physician billing records, coding records and administrative data.
These reviews can help identify coding mistakes, billing issues and other important financial factors.
5. Clinical documentation specialist
Professionals who pursue a career as a clinical documentation specialist have a variety of different core job duties to look forward to.
One aspect of this career includes being a patient information coordinator and managing clinical trial and service documents. A vital skill to own is the knowledge of medical terminology.
Clinical documentation specialists also conduct maintain charts, medical records and reports, solving any issues involving documentation along the way - as well as data entry, data analysis and other data related tasks.
Another pivotal duty within this role is ensuring that both accuracy and quality patient care are maintained among medical coders, doctors, nurses and other healthcare staff within their organization.
6. Clinical systems manager
Not to be confused with a clinical manager, it may be more helpful to think of this role as the computer systems administrator of the clinic.
They are responsible for updating and maintaining computer systems used in healthcare.
While general tech skills are key, this job will also require thorough knowledge about healthcare-specific hardware, software and networks. This role can be an excellent option for someone with a background in information technology and would like to apply their skills in a healthcare setting.
7. Medical research analyst
This role is an intriguing option for those who have an interest in research. Medical research analysts typically work with a team conducting medical studies and clinical trials.
Using their scientific, medical, analytical and even financial knowledge, these healthcare professionals work with physicians and scientists to coordinate clinical research studies.
This can include identifying patients, tracking inventory, collecting patient data, overseeing protocols and even acting, at times, as a liaison between supervising physicians and research sponsors.
Ready to get started in a health information career?
If you're interested in health information management jobs and you're something of a technology aficionado, the opportunities within the health information management sector are sure to pique your interest.
The seven careers outlined above offer a true-to-market sampling of the many opportunities that await.
Our bachelor's degree in health information management
Can you envision yourself succeeding in one of these career paths? Maybe a bachelor's degree in health information management is for you.
If you’re eager about the prospect and hungry to learn more about your options, then head over to our Health Information Management Bachelor’s degree page for more information.
1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 5,619 job postings that require a bachelor's degree in Health Information/Medical Records Administration/Administrator, Jan. 01, 2019 – Dec. 31, 2019)
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed April, 2023]. www.bls.gov/ooh Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries, and employment conditions in your area may vary.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2020. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2023.