What is Health Information Management?

Do you remember your last doctor’s visit?

If so, you most likely remember having to fill out a form that requested you to verify your medical history.

Now, consider this. According to Statista, there are over 1 million physicians in the US with the average physician receiving 3,500 visits per year!

With each individual having to fill out a form outlining their medical history, just as you had to in your last visit, we start seeing a large accumulation of personal health information on patients.

With all of these records, how can an organization stay organized? This is where the need for a Health Information Manager comes in to play.

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.”

As the abundance of health records continues to accumulate and technology continues to develop, the ability for information to be accessed without an individual’s consent has increased.

These developments made it necessary for policies to be put into place for healthcare information.

But how exactly does HIM impact healthcare?

Let’s take a look!

Health Information Management in Healthcare

In healthcare, Health Information can either be paper-based, electronic/digital or a combination of the two. Because the role of a Health Information Manager involves working with lots of private information, a HIM professional much be equipped in HIPAA laws.

And this is just scratching the surface on what HIMs should know!

A HIM involves protecting patient privacy, medical coding and billing, data analysis for medical improvement, and ensuring compliance with laws set by the government. It also includes overseeing the collection, retention, and security of all records for an organization.

As you can see from the duties above, a Health Information Manager needs to have a large breadth of technology, medical, and legal knowledge to succeed in this role. According to AHIMA, a Bachelors degree in HIM is necessary to become a HIM.

To say having an HIM in any healthcare organization is important would be an understatement. An HIM keeps organizations adherent to certain incentives while also helping the organization avoid penalties.

HIMs also work on the technology side of securing a patient’s record. The healthcare sector is a prime target for many data breaches and hackers. In 2018, it is documented that the healthcare sector saw over 15 million records compromised in over 500 breaches.  With the growth of new technologies, the demand for knowledgeable HIMs will continue to rise.

Speaking of technology! A Health Information Manager utilizes information technologies in order to increase the efficiency of record management for a healthcare organization.

Final Notes

Overall, a HIM is a certified healthcare professional who helps and organization ethically acquire, analyze and protect patient information. The four essential functions of a HIM include health information management, revenue cycle management, information governance, and informatics. With the growth in patients and technologies for healthcare organizations growing, now has never been a better time to become a Health information manager.


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