Health Information Systems: Degrees, Education Requirements, Career Opportunities, and Work Environment

Health Information Systems Degrees

Health information systems professionals are responsible for collecting, processing, analyzing and reporting healthcare data. Their work is essential in maintaining healthcare-related organizational workflows and compliance standards.

Students who pursue a bachelor’s degree in health information systems will study healthcare customer service, medical coding and computer system management. They will also gain valuable experience through internships and other hands-on fieldwork.

Education Requirements

While an associate degree is sufficient for many jobs, a bachelor’s degree will help students gain the skills needed to move into higher-level roles. Students will study medical topics like anatomy and pharmacology as well as technical subjects such as information management or program implementation.

The demand for HIM professionals is high as hospitals and physicians make the transition to electronic health records systems. These systems help ensure that a patient’s data is accurate and secure.

Students will be taught how to abstract information from hospital and ambulatory charts, using the latest ICD-CM and CPT coding books to assign codes to diagnoses and procedures and generate diagnostic related groups (DRGs). They will also learn about quality improvement processes, risk management techniques, reimbursement procedures and compliance strategies. Graduates will have the skills to work in patient data departments within healthcare organizations as well as insurance companies, pharmaceutical and software firms, law and accounting practices. They will also have the leadership skills to run their own department.

Career Opportunities

A bachelor’s degree in health information systems qualifies graduates for a variety of jobs. Some positions focus on the management of electronic data or analyzing the medical research data used in clinical trials. Others work directly with patients as a manager or healthcare coordinator. Some advanced roles require a master’s degree or additional training in a specific discipline.

Regardless of the job title, careers in health informatics are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical records and information technology jobs offer above-average salaries. These salaries range from around $17 per hour for entry-level jobs to six-figure salaries in some roles. Colleges that provide career services may help students find an entry-level job and build their experience. These services might include arranging internships and attending career fairs. It’s also a good idea for prospective students to consider pursuing professional certification in HIM. This can help them stand out to employers and enhance their employment opportunities.

Salary

With the right bachelor’s degree and some additional training, you can start a career in healthcare or information technology. A healthcare management major focuses on data analysis, while an information systems degree offers more hands-on technical training. Both degrees will teach you about data storage, analysis and information security.

A health information technician can work in a variety of different settings and is responsible for the collection, analysis and transmission of patient medical records. They can also create and maintain hardware and software systems that manage this information.

A clinical data analyst works with data and identifies trends to help a hospital or other medical organization make better decisions. They may also be tasked with vetting data accuracy and recovering lost information. A medical records supervisor oversees the team that handles patient medical data for a hospital or other facility. They can also focus on financial planning, personnel training and other managerial functions.

Work Environment

Health information systems professionals interact with many different people in the medical industry, including administrative and financial departments. As a result, they need to be comfortable working with a wide range of people and cultures. They also need to be able to solve problems quickly and effectively.

Because they work with sensitive data, health information systems professionals must pay close attention to detail. They must understand the implications of errors, which can affect patient outcomes. They also need to communicate clearly with healthcare staff, such as physicians and coding specialists.

Students who earn a bachelor’s degree in health information systems can find employment in a variety of settings. They can work in hospitals and long-term care facilities, or they can find positions with insurance companies, government agencies or software development firms. They can also choose to specialize in a particular area of health information. These specialties include coding, clinical documentation integrity and healthcare statistics. In addition, they may choose to join a professional organization.

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