One of the essentials components of the health care system is health information management (HIM). It is the practice of acquiring, organizing, and maintaining of both traditional/paper-based and electronic medical records to ensure the highest quality of health care service. These medical records may be taken by hand or on a computer, and can either be stored in a filing system or computer database. Either way, data must be stored and managed efficiently to guarantee the excellence in patient care. This industry is also dedicated in evaluating the information and coordinating with physicians to ensure that patients are treated properly, administered with the appropriate medication, and discharged or retained as needed.
As this field expands and information technology becomes a vital part of the medical industry, HIM is transitioning from the traditional way of preserving information through papers to a more efficient digital means. Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, $19 billion is earmarked to bring electronic record programs to physician practices and hospitals across the nation over the next five years. Meanwhile, according to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Statistics, the field of HIM is growing rapidly and employment is expected to increase by 21% for the 10-year timeframe between 2010 and 2020. That’s faster than average for all occupation!
At this pace, HIM industry is an auspicious career path for interested parties. HIM professionals care for patients by tracking and maintaining their medical data. These records demands confidentiality and should be kept accurate and complete, yet readily available for healthcare providers when needed. Likewise, the demand for health care services is expected to increase because of the growing aging population, which will need more medical tests, procedures, and treatments. This will also means more claims in getting imbursements from health insurances. These additional health records would certainly results in crucial need for qualified HIM professionals to organize and maintain needed information in the healthcare industry.
In order to become a HIM professional, you will need to get an associate’s degree (to become a Registered Health Information Technician), or a bachelor’s degree (to become a Registered Health Information Administrator) from a CAHIIIM-accredited school. For aspiring HIM executive, a Master’s degree in Health Information Management is often necessary. You could also work in obtaining your certification as Certified Coding Associate (CCA), Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), or Certified Coding Specialist Physician-based (CSS-P).
HIM professionals must also develop certain skills essential to the job. You must be detail-oriented, highly organized, and equipped with the ability to keep files confidential. You must also have good leadership and management talents. The job offers opportunities to work either in public or private sector, and you could work in a variety of settings such as small and large clinics, doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing facilities, government agencies, health insurance companies, and other facilities providing health care. Additionally, Bureau of labor Statistics boasts an average salary of $90,970 for health information managers in United States as of May 2009.
A career in health information management offers diverse opportunities for aspiring individuals. It involves various disciplines including medicine, management, information technology, finance, and even law! It is perfect for those who would like to work within the health care industry, but not directly with patients. A HIM professional coordinates with other professionals within and outside the field, so it provides a great opportunity in cultivating your collaborative skills. If you possess these interests, consider taking a career path in the field of HIM and work in a variety of settings across the healthcare environment!