7 Jobs You Can Get With a Health Information Management Degree
The health information management (HIM) field has been around for decades—but what HIM 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, health 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. If you’re curious about working in HIM, consider the following seven career options you could potentially pursue with a degree in the field.
What is health information management?
A patient’s health information data can include everything from symptoms and diagnoses to procedures and outcomes. In perusing one person’s health information records, for example, you may come across past lab results, X-rays, clinical notes from previous visits and more.
Health information management is the process by which different professionals create, handle, store, and execute that data.
Professionals who work HIM jobs accomplish an overarching goal of ensuring a patient’s health records are complete, accurate and continually protected. They are highly trained in the latest information management technology and maintain a working understanding of healthcare environments, from large hospital systems to private practices.
Why is health information management important?
The HIM field is centered on the belief that proper documentation of patient records results in reduced medical errors, lower costs and improved patient care outcomes.
Medical records can prove 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.
Serving as a bridge that connects clinical, operational and administrative functions, HIM pros work in a variety of settings and in a number of different job roles—so let’s dive in to what they are.
7 Health information management jobs to consider
To help you gain a clearer understanding of what HIM jobs would be like, we used job posting analysis software to examine more than 5,600 job postings and identify 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, you would be responsible for maintaining and ensuring the security of all patient records and data. Professionals in this sphere are tasked with staying up to date with consistently evolving information technology, overseeing medical recordkeeping teams, ensuring departmental compliance with laws relating to health information systems, tracking trends and auditing data for accuracy.
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.
3. Data analyst
In general, a data analyst in healthcare studies and compiles medical data. Their expertise in computer-based applications 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 managing clinical trial and service documents. Clinical documentation specialists also maintain charts, medical records, and reports, solving any issues involving documentation along the way. Another pivotal duty within this role is ensuring that both accuracy and quality 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 specialized 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
While this job title did not appear in our analysis of job postings, it is an intriguing option to remember 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 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 HIM sector are sure to pique your interest. The seven careers outlined above offer a true-to-market sampling of the many opportunities that await.
Can you envision yourself succeeding in one of these career paths? 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)