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What is Health Information Management?

According to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), health information management (HIM) is the practice of acquiring, analyzing, and protecting digital and traditional medical information vital to providing quality patient care. It is a combination of business, science, and information technology. Here’s a look into the working life of an HIM professional in today’s medical and health settings. 

Where Do HIM Professionals Work?

The most common environments for HIM professionals are in healthcare settings – we’ll focus on those for now and speak to some other opportunities in the next section. Whether it’s a hospital, physician’s office, surgery center, long-term care facility, etc., these individuals are playing an integral role in collecting and processing patient information, and making sure it’s being used and managed properly according to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Several Prospective Career Paths

Not only are there several career options outside of direct-patient-contact settings, but also in different industries entirely. Within the medical and healthcare settings, options range between office-based practices, public health agencies, nursing homes, and more. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for HIM professionals to later advance their education and pursue careers with health insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and education.

Strong Job Outlook

In a 2019 report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found the field of Health Information Management to grow at a projected 8% between 2019 and 2029, which is much higher than average. According to the same report, HIM professionals received a median pay of $44k per year, or $21/hr in 2020. The rapid expansion of technology in healthcare makes HIM a growing field and an exciting career choice for anyone interested in medical professions.

The role and responsibilities of a HIM professional are more important to the medical setting at-large that you might have imagined. While some might work directly with patients, doctors and health insurance companies, the majority of their work goes on behind the scenes in the processing, protection and management of health records. Their positive impact on the overall patient experience can be seen from appointment or visit straight through insurance claim.

Interested in a career in HIM but not sure which program is right for you? Check out the Health Information Technology program page at Northwestern College or reach out to our dedicated Admissions staff for more info.