Health Information Technology – Field and Employment Q&A

Q: What is Health Information Technology/Management?

A:  As defined by 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.  HIM professionals are highly trained in the latest information management technology applications and understand the workflow in any healthcare provider organization from large hospital systems to the private physician practice. They are vital to the daily operations management of health information and electronic health records (EHRs). They ensure a patient’s health information and records are complete, accurate, and protected.


Q:  What do health information professionals do?

A:  Health information professionals can work in a variety of settings and roles.  One of the   most common entry-level positions in this field is a Health Information Technician.  In this position, technicians compile statistics for health information indices, disease registries, and research studies, review clinical documentation to assign codes to diseases and procedures, use storage and retrieval systems to manage the release of patient health information and retrieve health data.  Other roles include Medical Coder, Clinical Documentation Specialists, Health Data Analysts, Electronic Healthcare Record Specialist and Health Information Supervisors/Leads.  Many of these roles require professional certification, such as the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential.

There are numerous job titles and career paths available in this field, which affords the health information management professional with many options and opportunities for growth. For more information about careers in health information management, please visit http://ahima.org/careers


Q:   How do I know if the career is the best choice for me?

A:   This career path is great for students seeking to:

  • Explore alternative and diverse opportunities within healthcare, outside of patient care
  • Obtain knowledge in science, technology, management and law
  • Work independently and in a team with healthcare providers and other healthcare professionals
  • Capitalize analytical and problem-solving capabilities
  • Use technology and computer applications to improve patient care

Q:  What is the employment outlook for health informatics professionals?

A: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of health information technicians is projected to grow  13 percent from  2016to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations