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What is Health Information Management?

March 27, 2012 General, Patchogue, Bethpage, Queens 0 Comments

Health Management programHealth information management (HIM) is the practice of maintaining healthcare records either on paper or electronically. It involves the organization, tracking, and maintenance of paperwork for patients in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and other facilities.

The sensitive nature of healthcare information demands a great deal of privacy, so health information managers must be very detail-oriented and professional. They must also be familiar with healthcare rules and practices, and understand the language used in this industry. Because of this, many health information management degree programs have coursework in medical terminology.

Health Information Management Records

The right information needs to be available at the right time for patients to get the highest quality of care, and there are a few HIM records that keep this information organized and accessible.

  • Patient health record – This is the main legal record that documents the healthcare services provided to a patient, including routine office records, preventative care, lifestyle evaluations, and more.
  • Primary patient record – Health care professionals use this to review patient data and to document their observations, actions, and patient instructions.
  • Secondary patient record – This document is derived from the primary patient record, and is used by nonclinical people involved with administration, regulation, and payment.

Health Information Management Practices

With so much important and sensitive information to manage, health information managers follow a number of practices to ensure the quality of these records. Here are some of their primary objectives.

  • Accuracy: Is the information correct?
  • Accessibility: Is the information available and legal to access?
  • Comprehensiveness: Is the entire scope of information included?
  • Consistency: Is the information reliable?
  • Currency: Is the information up to date?
  • Definition: Is it clear what all the information means?
  • Granularity: Are values and attributes defined at the right level of detail?

Health information management is a broad field, and career opportunities exist in many venues in healthcare and beyond. HIM professionals are also found at government agencies, law firms, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, and software development companies. Health information management offers an opportunity to be in a health-related field without working at hospitals, clinics, or with patients.

This article is presented by Briarcliffe College. Contact us today if you’re interested in developing marketable knowledge and career-relevant skills with our Health Information Management program.

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