How Do I Become a Health Information Manager?

D. Nelson
D. Nelson
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

An individual who is interested in working in the health profession but who also wants to use computers and has an interest in Information Technology (IT) might want to become a health information manager. To become a health information manager, your first step should be to earn a degree in health information, hospital administration, or in a similar field. While you may be able to progress to a management position without earning a graduate degree, a higher level of education can be beneficial. In other cases, however, it also is possible to rise to a management position through experience.

A health information manager is a medical professional who is responsible for performing duties such as recording and retrieving patient information. He or she also might be responsible for securing data and granting access to data. In some cases, a health information manager might assist in creating or optimizing health information systems.

To become a health information manager, it is necessary to earn an undergraduate degree in health information or in a similar field first. It is important that you learn about common medical practices and terminology, as well as about IT issues and practices. An effective education in health information enables students to understand the connection between IT and the medical profession.

Whether or not you enter a graduate program, you should consider earning health information certification. In the United States, for example, the American Health Information Management Association(AHIMA) offers certifications such as Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) certificate. To earn this level of certification, an individual must have an undergraduate degree in health management and pass a proficiency exam. An individual who would like to become a health information manager and who is just beginning his or her career can benefit from this kind of professional certification.

For many individuals, the choice of whether or not to earn a graduate degree can be a difficult one. Its importance depends largely on the job market in which you work. If you live in an area where there are many qualified medical professionals, a master's degree in health information can help you to keep up with the competition. Individuals who live in work in less competitive regions might need only to gain experience after earning an undergraduate degree.

All health information professionals begin in entry level positions. As you move ahead in your career, make sure to network with colleagues and supervisors who believe that you are doing good work. These individuals might become references and leads who help you to become a health information manager.

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