Medical Information Manager Careers: Salary & Job Description

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As a medical information manager, you can earn about $69,880 annually. Is it worth the training requirements? Read actual job descriptions and salary information to find out if a career as a medical information manager is right for you.
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Medical Information Manager Career: Pros and Cons

Medical information managers, also referred to as health information managers, are responsible for confidentially managing patient medical information. Read on to find out the pros and cons of a career as a medical information manager to see if it's the right field for you.

Pros of Becoming a Medical Information Manager
Career opportunities are available in a range of industries (health care, consulting, education, health care software and government)*
An associate's degree may be enough for entry-level positions*
Training provides skills in a diverse range of topics (information technology, data management, health care, quality management, law and business)*
Good job prospects are expected (predicted 73,000 new jobs over the 2012-2022 decade for all medical and health services managers)**

Cons of Becoming a Medical Information Manager
Must stay up-to-date with technological advances***
High level of responsibility and little room for errors***
Salary amount highly depends on geographical location and type of employer*
Finding an accredited baccalaureate program near you may be challenging (only 54 existed as of 2009)*

Sources: *American Health Information Management Association, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Info

Job Description

As a medical information manager, you would be responsible for the business, legal and technological aspects of managing patient health care information. This includes collecting, storing, accessing and interpreting data that can impact the health care decisions made by doctors and patients. Since these decisions can be life-changing, it's critical that you pay close attention to details and make sure the data is complete and accurate. In addition, current federal regulations require complete confidentiality of all health information, so you'll need to determine if you are comfortable with this level of responsibility. Federal law also mandates that all medical records be electronically maintained, so you'll need to appreciate technology and enjoy keeping up with the latest advances.

As a medical information manager, you'll be able to work in a variety of job settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, doctors' offices, consulting firms, government agencies, universities and insurance companies. Communication and teamwork plays a large role in the job, and you'll have the opportunity to interface with physicians and nurses, insurance company representatives, facility administrators and researchers, though medical information management is one of the few health care fields that does not include patient interaction.

Salary and Career Prospects

According to the American Health Information Management Association's (AHIMA) 2012 salary survey, the average annual pay for medical information managers was $69,880. The same study revealed that medical information directors brought home around $87,734, and executives earned about $132,040.

In 2011, U.S. News and World Report named health information management (HIM) as one of nine extremely popular college majors, and the American Medical Informatics Association predicted that there could be 50,000 new informatics (a closely related field) jobs in the next five to seven years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts a faster-than-average 23% increase in employment through 2022 for all medical and health services managers, which includes medical information managers.

What Are the Requirements?

Education Requirements

Most people working as medical information managers have a degree in health information management or health informatics from a school accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). There are CAHIIM-accredited programs at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels that can enable you to gain industry credentials. You'll want to complete one of these programs, because they are often required to earn professional credentials in this field, which employers highly value when making hiring and advancement decisions.

Specialization Options

With an accredited associate's degree, you'll be eligible to get the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential, which opens the door to such jobs as a coder, insurance claims analyst, cancer registrar and department manager. If you earn an accredited bachelor's degree or higher, you'll be able to earn a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential and attain such titles as HIM college instructor, data quality manager, coding professional and healthcare consumer advocate.

Licensing

In most states, you will not need a license to work in medical information management; however, for employment in a nursing care facility, you do need a bachelor's degree, a state license, completion of a state-approved training program and continuing education. Some states require health care managers to obtain a license to work in assisted-living facilities.

Skills

Medical information managers need to have strong attention to detail to make sure information databases are accurate, complete and compliant with state and federal regulations. In addition, they must be technically savvy, skilled communicators and team players.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Employers seem to seek medical information managers with degrees in their field, strong communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team. Below are some examples of job board listings for medical information management positions that employers posted in March 2012.

  • A start-up clinical informatics company in Boston, MA, is seeking a manager, preferably with a master's degree in computer science, medical informatics or health information management, to lead the development of their ontology services. A suitable candidate will be creative, flexible, a strong communicator and able to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • A hospital in Albuquerque, NM, needs someone to oversee the health information management department. Responsibilities include daily coding, as well as ensuring department conformity with state and federal regulations and medical staff credentials. The employer prefers candidates with health information management degrees and RHIT or RHIA certifications and is willing to provide training to recent graduates. Key qualities mentioned in the job posting include the ability to multitask and strong communication skills.
  • A doctor's office in Fort Collins, CO, needs a director to oversee the medical records department, which includes maintaining the office's information systems hardware and software, assisting end-users, assessing new technologies and interfacing with vendors. The candidate should have experience working in a health care organization and a degree in business, computer science or health information management. The employer is looking for someone with exceptional people skills, a willingness to work as part of a team and a penchant for teaching and mentoring others.

How to Get an Edge in the Field

Pursue Further Education

As a medical information manager, you might find it worthwhile to go back to school and get an advanced degree. The average annual salary for someone with an associate degree in HIM is about $65,000; that number increases dramatically to $85,000 with a bachelor's degree and $99,000 with a master's degree. If you don't want to earn another degree, you might consider taking business courses to sharpen your communication skills and learn how to function as part of a team. You can also enhance your appeal to employers by becoming familiar with database management and business software applications, such as Microsoft Office.

Join Professional Organizations

As mentioned above, it's critical that medical information professionals stay up-to-speed with current technological advances and legislative changes. Joining a professional organization, such as AHIMA, and attending industry conferences can help in this area and, additionally, provide networking opportunities. Getting advanced credentials and continuing education credits from AHIMA might enhance your skill set and make you a more valuable employee. AHIMA'S mentoring program could also be useful for making professional connections and learning the tricks of the trade.

Other Fields to Consider

Health Information Technician

If you don't want the management responsibilities that come with a medical information manager position, you might consider becoming a health information technician (HIT). As an HIT, you'd be responsible for organizing and overseeing patients' medical data. You can get an HIT job with an associate's degree, and, according to the BLS, your job prospects are expected to include a 21% increase in job opportunities through 2020). On the other hand, the pay would be less than if you worked as a medical information manager.

Health Informatics

If you like designing, managing and analyzing data systems rather than management, health informatics (HI) might be more your speed. HI is similar to HIM, but the emphasis is on using computer technology for medical advancements, rather than on helping people make medical decisions based on accurate and current data records. You'd make about double the salary of an HIM professional, but you would need to get a master's degree.

Medical Transcriptionist

Another medical information career that doesn't include management responsibilities is medical transcription. Medical transcriptionists play a significant role in the maintenance of medical records: they listen to dictated notes from doctors and transcribe them into patients' records. You can get a job with just a few years of postsecondary education at a vocational school, and some medical transcriptionists get to work from home. However, the pay is significantly less, and the BLS expects just average job growth at 6% through 2020).

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Kaplan University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Health Information Management
      • MBA: Health Care Management
      • Master of Healthcare Admin
      • Master: Management/Health Care Mgmt
      • Master of Health Informatics
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Health Information Management
      • Bachelor: Healthcare Admin
      • Bachelor: Health Science
    Certificate
      • Medical Office Administration Certificate
      • Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
  • Campus Locations:
    2. American National University

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Medical Billing and Coding - Diploma
      • Medical Office Professional - Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Regent University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Public Administration - Healthcare Policy and Ethics
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
      • MS - Healthcare Admin and Management
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Healthcare Admin and Management
  • Campus Locations:
    5. College of Health Care Professions

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Medical Coding and Billing-Certificate
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Queens University of Charlotte

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
      • Master of Health Administration
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Penn Foster

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Career Diploma - Medical Transcriptionist
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. Southern Careers Institute

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist
  • Campus Locations:
    9. CDI College

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Diploma in Assistance in Health Care Facilities - Assistance la Personne en tablissement de Sant
      • Diploma in Health Care Assistant
      • Diploma in Health, Assistance & Nursing Sant, Assistance et Soins Infirmiers
      • Diploma in Medical Office Administration
      • Diploma in Medical Office Administrator
      • Diploma in Medical Office Assistant
  • Online Programs Available
    10. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • HS Diploma

Featured Schools

Kaplan University

  • Master of Health Information Management
  • BS in Health Information Management
  • Medical Office Administration Certificate

Which subject are you interested in?

American National University

  • Medical Billing and Coding - Diploma
  • Medical Office Professional - Diploma

What is your education level?

Regent University

  • Doctor of Strategic Leadership - Healthcare Leadership
  • Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management

What is your highest level of education completed?

Colorado State University Global

  • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration
  • MS - Healthcare Admin and Management
  • BS - Healthcare Admin and Management

What is your highest level of education?

College of Health Care Professions

  • Medical Coding and Billing-Certificate

What is your highest level of education completed?

Queens University of Charlotte

  • Master of Business Administration - Healthcare Management
  • Master of Health Administration

What is your highest level of education completed?

Penn Foster

  • Career Diploma - Medical Transcriptionist

What is your highest level of education?

Southern Careers Institute

  • Medical Billing and Coding Specialist

What is your highest level of education completed?