"Health information management professionals work in a variety of different settings and job titles. They often serve in bridge roles, connecting clinical, operational, and administrative functions. These professionals affect the quality of patient information and patient care at every touch point in the healthcare delivery cycle. Having skilled HIM professionals on staff ensures an organization has the right information on hand when and where it is needed while maintaining the highest standards of data integrity, confidentiality, and security". (AHIMA)
The exciting thing about an HIM degree and RHIA credential is that it leads to a wide variety of career paths within the healthcare industry. HIM professionals hold positions in more than 40 job categories and more than 200 job titles. Here are 10 of the most common:
This is the most traditional role, managing an HIM department at a hospital, clinic, or long term care facility. You would be responsible for the health information technicians, coders, transcriptionists, scanning clerks, etc. and ensure policies and procedures are being followed on a daily basis.
This is another traditional role, supervising a group of HIM staff, such as the coders, or transcriptionists, or clerical staff. This role would be different depending on the size of the facility.
Electronic Health Record Manager
Manages the training, use, and quality control of the EHR for the facility. Typically is working closely with the IT department. Assists users with issues, maintains the integrity of the EHR by monitoring security, and determines needs for upgrades or new uses of technology. May conduct new employee EHR training.
May manage the coders or the billers, or may be the resident expert on the different insurance companies, billing procedures, and the relationship between coding, billing, and quality documentation.
Health Information Data Analyst
This person works with spreadsheets and reports to collect and report data that is needed by both external agencies and internal departments. For instance, they may pull monthly reports for the CEO regarding how many patients were admitted, what were the procedures performed and what the top 10 diagnoses were that month.
Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialist
This person is an expert on quality documentation by providers and what type of documentation is expected and required internally and by external agencies. They train new physicians on how to document, conduct documentation audits, determine if claim rejections were based on documentation issues, and provide ongoing training to the medical staff regarding how to document to provide a quality legal record and one that will achieve the highest reimbursement possible.
HIPAA requires every healthcare facility to designate a person as Privacy Officer. This is a perfect role for an HIM professional. In a medium to large hospital, this has become a fulltime position and is held by many RHIA's. This person ensures compliance with HIPAA regulations and creates policies, procedures, and training for all privacy, security and confidentiality rules.
Revenue Cycle Manager
Performs monthly audits of encounters, bills, and chart documentation to identify revenue cycle improvement opportunities. This person often starts as a biller or biller/coder and progresses in their career to this role.
Medical Practice Manager
This is a newer and emerging role. Medical practices and clinics have begun to notice the value of the skills possessed by an RHIA and have started looking for HIM professionals to manage their practice or their front office. This role tends to combine many of the other roles mentioned here.
Medical Coder / Auditor
The coder assigns ICD and/or CPT codes to all patient encounters and may also assign DRGs and APCs. Most use coding software to assist their work. An advanced coder may become a "lead" or a "coding supervisor" who is responsible for auditing the quality of the coders work. With the emergence of Computer Assisted Coding (CAC), the coder role may transition to more of a Coding Auditor role.