How to Become a Health Information Manager

The management of health information is a vital practice in all healthcare facilities because it deals with the proper maintenance and confidentiality of all patient records. Health information managers are specially trained professionals that are responsible for the management of health information systems.

What does a health information manager do?

Health information managers handle all confidential information related to the health and medical records of patients. They must keep all records secure and properly handled. They update and document new entries to patient records on a regular basis. They must also make sure that databases are complete, accurate, and only accessible to authorized facility personnel. They are responsible for ensuring all records are securely stored in electronic and hard copy formats and easily accessible to the authorized staff such as medical billing specialists, doctors, and nurses.

What kind of training does a health information manager need?

Health information managers usually need at least a bachelor degree in health information management or other related field. Many health information managers have a master degree. Prospective health information managers typically complete courses in medical records, hospital organization and management, strategic planning, health economics, law and ethics, and health information systems. Some health information managers begin their careers in entry-level positions and advance into management positions as they gain the necessary skills and experience. Many health information managers gain the Registered Health Information Administrator designation from the American Health Information Management Association. Certification requirements include minimum education and passing an examination. Health information managers must complete regular continuing education to maintain their certifications, keep their skills up to date, and stay abreast on the advancements in the field.

What are the prospects for a career as a health information manager?

Employment of health information managers is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 16% from 2008 to 2018 (1). The growing and aging population and expansion of the healthcare industry will drive job growth.

Job prospects should be good especially for health information managers with extensive experience and strong business management skills.

How much do health information managers make?

As of December 2009, the average annual salary for health information managers with 1 to 4 years experience is between $30,252 and $45,781. Those with 5 to 9 years experience earn average annual salaries between $39,663 and $61,042 (2).

A career as a health information manager is a great choice for people with a strong interest in the management of health information for a variety of healthcare facilities. Health information managers must have a solid understanding of the information management practices and principles of their facility. Flexibility, tact, diplomacy, and strong leadership skills are necessary characteristics. Health information managers must have excellent communication skills and ability to interact with a variety of other professionals. They must be open to a variety of opinions and have the ability to make effective decisions.

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