7 Jobs You Can Get with a Health Information Management Degree
The health information management (HIM) industry 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 (EHRs) utilized in today’s digitally saturated landscape, health information has come a long way.
One thing, however, has remained steadfast: The HIM industry is centered on the belief that proper documentation of patient records results in reduced medical errors and improved patient care.
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 professionals behind the scenes who maintain a necessary balance of healthcare knowledge and tech prowess. If you’re curious about working in HIM, consider the following seven career paths you could pursue with a degree in the field.
The importance of 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.
According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), medical records of this nature can prove helpful on an individual basis to evaluate a patient’s health status over time.1 But it can also serve an important purpose as a part of a larger data set to understand how a population’s health has changed over time and how particular medical interventions can impact healthcare outcomes.
Professionals who work in the HIM sector 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 applications and maintain a working understanding of the workflow of varying healthcare environments, from large hospital systems to private practices.
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 titles to “Care for patients by caring for their medical data,” AHIMA maintains.1
7 Health information management jobs to consider
To help you gain a clearer understanding of what working in HIM would be like, we used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 3,500 job postings. The following seven job titles topped the list of positions for which employers sought candidates with a Health Information Bachelor’s degree.2
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 the consistently evolving information technology, laws relating to health information systems and trends in managing copious amounts of complex data.
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 liaison between the healthcare providers and the billing offices.
Healthcare data analyst
In general, a healthcare data analyst 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. They are also skilled at identifying the current trends in the healthcare system to make consistently well-informed decisions.
Medical coding compliance auditor
Medical record audits are a key way healthcare organizations seek to improve their clinical documentation with the goal of providing efficient and higher quality care while also improving 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.
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.
Medical research analyst
Also referred to as clinical research analysts, medical research analysts typically work with a team conducting medical studies, clinical trials and research. 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 the other medical staff members.
Medical records abstractor
Working as a medical records abstractor, you’d be responsible for helping healthcare facilities update their recordkeeping through use of the latest technology. This is done through reviewing patient files and extracting key data that should be entered into electronic files, which can include transferring data from paper files as well as transferring data from one electronic medical records system to another. This career calls for a keen, analytical eye to help you identify which details are critical to patient care and should be included in abstracts.
Ready to get started in a health information career?
If you’re interested in a career in the booming healthcare industry, 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.
1The American Health Information Management Association. Copyright© 2018.
2Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 3,680 job postings that require a bachelor’s degree in HIM, Aug. 01, 2017 – Jul. 31, 2018)