It might appear like an ordinary, boring desk job on the surface. But with today's rapidly advancing technology, a career in Health Information Management (HIM) might be one of the most exciting professions in the industry.
Health information is the data related to a person's medical history, including symptoms, diagnoses, procedures, and outcomes. Health Information Management is the practice of acquiring, analyzing and protecting both digital and traditional medical information that is vital to providing quality patient care. The tools with which a health information professional has to work with nowadays makes the position even more complex and fascinating.
Because the profession is changing rapidly - and, because April is National Records & Information Month - we wanted to take a look at exactly what someone in Health Information Management does. We enlisted the help of Concorde's resident expert in the field - RaTonya Stephens, RHIA, Program Director for Health Information Management at our campus in Memphis, Tenn. to do so.
Health Information Management very valuable in health care
"A health information professional is very valuable in health care," Stephens said. "Although we do not physically interact with the patient most days, we still are an important part of the health care team."
"Health information professionals care for patients by caring for their medical data. The training a HIM professional receives regarding clinical, financial, regulatory and technology aspects of health care often make him/her the professional that's capable of interacting with senior business and clinical leaders."
Stephens said HIM professionals can help strengthen an organization's performance by managing the information and data that is necessary for achieving strategic goals. They ensure a patient's health information and records are complete, accurate and protected.
Career opportunities in Health Information Management are endless
There are traditional jobs in Health Information Management, Stephens said, such as working in an acute setting as a clerk, coding professional, analyst, supervisor, manager or director. There also are many non-traditional roles. Stephens said some of these might include working in compliance, privacy, security, and informatics, as well as academics. Information technology also is a growing area for HIM professionals. There are many software vendors looking to hire HIM professionals who can provide their knowledge and expertise in electronic medical records and other health care software.
As technology advances, so will the role of Health Information Management
"As technology advances, the role of the HIM professional will expand even more," Stephens said. "It is the responsibility of a HIM professional to adapt to new methods of capturing health care information, storing that information and easily accessing it electronically.
Their role is important in order to maintain organized and accurate electronic data that allows daily health care routines to carry on smoothly with the new technological advancements."