Industry buzz in health care for the last several years has centered around
growth. There really is no question about it: Health care is a good field to be in when it comes to
job security. But what does it take to not only land a stable job, but also position yourself for a role that offers career growth?
Consider following a path in the health information management (HIM) sector of health care. HIM professionals play a pivotal role in health care by collecting and managing the data that is used to make clinical, financial, operational, administrative and even ethical, patient-centered decisions. Leadership in this
field requires not only a tactical understanding of how to use data management technology, but also an understanding of the far-reaching implications of this ever-evolving field of study.
It’s true that you can acquire an entry-level position in this field with a high school diploma or an associate’s degree, but the opportunities for both
career progress and earning potential expand upon earning a bachelor’s degree or higher. Read on for a quick look at the advanced health information management jobs that could be yours.
Appealing health information management jobs for bachelor’s degree holders
We used real-time job analysis software to examine more than 23,000 health information management job postings from 2017.* The data gave us insight into positions available to those who have earned a Bachelor’s degree in HIM. The following is a small sample of job titles you might find when
searching for health information management careers.
1. Clinical data manager
Medical research is at the core of every health care advancement we experience in the industry today. As technology becomes more and more sophisticated, so does the data collected in clinical trials.
Clinical data managers help ensure the integrity of data collected in medical and pharmaceutical research. They may be responsible for preparing and approving data management plans, data acquisition and data evaluation. Clinical data managers may also play a role in developing, updating and maintaining the
protocols for data management as well as training and leading data analysis teams. As a leader in this area of HIM, you can have a real influence on how health care advancements come to life.
2. Medical records abstractor
Medical records abstractors analyze and interpret medical data, making them a critical partner for physicians, researchers and other agencies involved in health care delivery. An abstractor may enter data into databases and work with physicians to pull charts for specific inquiries. They track statistics
and ensure data is complete, following up to address missing information as needed.
To qualify for a job as a medical records abstractor, a candidate must have a working knowledge of medical terminology and coding, which can be developed in entry-level medical coding positions. However, due to the analytical and research-heavy nature of this position, employers are
increasingly listing bachelor’s-degree education as a preferred qualification. Job seekers are well advised to go beyond the minimum in order to remain competitive in the talent pool and bring sophisticated, research-driven insights into the field.
3. Medical coding manager
The health care industry relies on teams of medical coders to translate medical procedures and services into meaningful data and statistics that can inform their understanding of health care cost and quality control. These teams are led by medical coding managers who typically have a knowledge and professional
background in medical coding, but take on administrative and leadership responsibilities for the department.
Medical coding managers may work in hospitals or medical administrative offices. Their responsibilities include maintaining patient record security and accuracy, software and network security and department policies and procedures. While other leadership roles in HIM fields emphasize research and statistics,
medical coding managers rely more heavily on their managerial and leadership skills to develop medical coding staff and ensure efficient departmental operations.
4. Privacy officer
Patient information in the health care industry is protected by regulations, such as the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Therefore, health care organizations must strictly adhere to privacy policies — both for their own legal protection and for the safety and
security of the patients they serve.
The health care privacy officer’s job is to ensure security of health care information as it is stored, shared and accessed by authorized agencies. They may lead or assist in leading the development of, and strict adherence to, departmental policies. This requires a refined understanding of the legal and
ethical implications of health care information security. While they do not have direct interactions with patients, privacy officers truly play a pivotal role in their protection.
5. Health information management or Medical records director
Much like other management roles, medical records directors oversee the operations of a health information department. They may be responsible for maintaining and securing patient data and electronic medical records, as well as ensuring that information is complete and accurate.
To do this, they rely heavily on their management skills, motivating and guiding department employees in adherence to policies and regulatory issues. They also may be responsible for hiring practices and ongoing training for existing personnel to ensure employees are kept up-to-date with emerging
These duties require a distinct set of leadership skills, which are not always gained through experience in entry-level HIM jobs. If you see opportunities to make an impact in health information management and move up, you may need to explore a formal degree path in order to take that next step.
Earn HIM credentials for health care career
A Bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management can give you the specialization you need to stand out as an expert in your field. At Saint Joseph’s College, we offer a
CAHIIM-accredited BS HIM degree program that you can complete online — no on-campus residency required.
Whether you are just starting your college career or are already working in the health information management field, we can help you achieve your career goals.
Request more information today to see what opportunities are available for you.
*Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 23,601 health information management job postings, Jan.
1, 2017 – Dec. 31, 2017).