What is a Health Information Manager?

Health-Information-ManagerInternet access and technology have both contributed to a multitude of innovative job descriptions. Ever changing healthcare regulations have also contributed to new positions in the healthcare industry. Choosing a career as a Health Information Manager means you will need a well-rounded education and training in health care, information technology and business. This unique balance of expertise qualifies a person to manage health information systems. They are, per se, the go-between or intermediary between the health information of their facilities’ patients and the patients’ health insurers. They also bridge the gap between other regulating agencies, such as the federal and state governments. A Health Information Manager may also be responsible for their health care facilities’ health information system design and implementation.

Duties Assigned and Changing Roles

Electronic Health Records (EHR) have become the new wave of health care reform. As debate continues, as reported on the American Health Information Association (AHIMA) website, about allowing patients access to their EHR information, a format for sharing must be developed. Health Information Managers will play an integral role in creating and sharing the documentation crucial for the success and accuracy of EHR, not only with patients but for health professionals as well.

A Growing Field

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) reports the need for Health Information Managers is expected to grow by 23% by 2020. This is almost double the expected 12% growth for all occupations. Furthermore, this same May 2012 Report also states people employed in this position can expect a median salary of $88,580. The OOH mentions at least a bachelor’s degree is required but it is not uncommon for some facilities to require a master’s degree. Earning a bachelor’s degree in health administration is an affirmative first step to entering the field. Some of the courses specifically mentioned by the OOH include “hospital organization and management, accounting and budgeting, human resources administration, strategic planning, law and ethics, health economics, and health information systems.”

A Health Information Manager Case

An example to illustrate the importance of Health Information Managers involves documentation and copying of a patient’s record. EHR sharing may require a patient’s health record to be copied several times. If information is copied into a wrong part of the health form, the patient may receive a wrong diagnosis or health insurance claim denial. For instance, the patient’s family history reports the father had cancer of the kidney. The information erroneously is copied onto the patient’s record under their recent history. The information then is copied onto several other notes. This could lead to a serious misdiagnosis or invalid coding to the insurance company resulting in severe consequences.

As a Health Information Manager you have the distinctive opportunity to positively impact the health care system. Your patients rely on your expertise for accurate transmission of information related to their health. They don’t have the capabilities to provide the information required by their health insurance company or knowledge of the requirements set by regulating agencies. You are as vital to the patients’ well-being and treatment as their doctor by ensuring the right information is available when needed and protecting the security and integrity of patient information.

Filed under: Health Information Manager