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Degrees in Health Information Management

Health information degree programs train students how to manage and organize patient records, and how to maintain security of all electronic data in the healthcare environment. Health information programs give students a chance to work with the latest computer software and technologies to create and manage databases and ensure that documents and data are only accessible by authorized staff members. Many schools also train students how to work with physicians and handle operations in a medical office setting.

Types of Health Information Degree Programs

Health information degree programs are available at the bachelor's, masters and doctoral level, and some schools offer both online and offline programs. Some of the different specializations and concentrations include:

  • Health Informatics

  • Health Care Informatics

  • Biomedical Informatics

  • Nursing Informatics

  • Genomics

  • Medical Informatics

  • Hospital Recordkeeping Management

The field of health informatics is growing rapidly with the advances in technology and software programs, and as more healthcare organizations require experienced health information specialists to manage databases and secure patient data. Many schools provide students with advanced training in the field of database administration, network security and network administration. Students also have the option to complete a health information certificate. Certification can increase career opportunities in the field and give students the chance to specialize in a certain field or area.

Health Information Education Courses

Courses that are typically required include:

  • Introduction to Health Care Systems and Health Data Systems

  • Health Care Coding

  • Disease Concepts for Managers

  • Health Care Computer Systems and Electronic Health Records

  • Health Information Systems Analysis

  • Finance Concepts for Health Care Managers

  • Quality Assurance and Research in Health Care

  • Problem-Solving and Decision-Making in Health Information Management

  • Network Security

  • Database Administration Concepts

Getting a Health Information Management Degree

Students can complete coursework at the associate's, bachelors or master's degree level and pursue a variety of entry-level and management opportunities. Advanced health information management degree programs include courses in health care management, natural science, information technology, management and leadership training. Post-graduate programs may include coursework in fields such as engineering, organizational management and budgeting.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that those with a health information management degree typically work in hospitals, physician's offices, nursing and residential care facilities, healthcare service organizations, Federal Government healthcare facilities, for insurance companies, or in community care settings.

Health Information Management Degree Job Options

Students can explore a number of different career opportunities shortly after graduation. These include:

  • Medical Coder

  • Registered Health Information Technician

  • Registered Health Information Administrator

  • Health Informatics Specialist

  • HIM Department Director

  • HIM System Manager

  • Chief Privacy Officer

  • HIM College Instructor

  • Data Quality Manager

  • Consultant

Getting Health Information Certification

Some schools also offer health information certification programs. National certifications are required for certain types of jobs, and most employers in the healthcare field require technicians to have the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification. Individuals who wish to pursue management or supervisory positions must have the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHI) certification. In order to get certification in these fields, candidates need to complete at least an associate's health information degree program and pass a certification exam.

Certification offers the following benefits:

  • Increasing earning potential

  • Opening up options for career advancement

  • Connecting with other certified peers

  • Being a part of a prestigious community

  • Serves as proof of mastery in the field of medical coding or informatics

Job Prospects with a Health Information Degree

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job opportunities for those who have completed a health information program will be good, especially for those who work as medical and health services managers in larger hospital settings. As of May 2008, the median annual wages of salary medical and health services managers were $80,240. Earnings do vary significantly by organization and location.

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Degrees in Health Information Management