Health informatics and information management (HIIM) is a fast-growing field in the health care industry. It is a program that combines clinical knowledge with information technology, business management, law, and finance. Because of this, degree-holders can choose from a range of job domains across the healthcare industry. If you are eyeing to take this program, an exciting career awaits you in the future as the demand for professionals in this field is expected to rise soon. In fact, the United States’ forecasts that jobs related to this degree will rise by 20 percent between 2008 and 2016.
What can you do with HIIM degree? These job domains should give you an idea of the career opportunities for the graduates in this field.
HIIM professionals in this area are responsible for analyzing and interpreting clinical data as well as medical information. They plan and implement health information systems in collaboration with other healthcare staff. The work of health informatics professionals is very essential in the operations management of health information as well as electronic health records on a daily basis. Their job entails identifying and documenting data needs of various business units, validating and checking data quality for loading in clinical data repositories; and coordination with information technology teams for medical claims transactions, collection and integration of health data, and such other works. This work domain satisfies the need of the healthcare industry for managing and organizing numerous and complex health data.
Health Care IT
HIIM degree-holders can also become health care IT professionals. As with any typical IT department, the job entails handling the hardware and software, including installation services and servers. These workers have extensive training in programming in a health care industry setting to be able to create information systems that could ensure a seamless flow of operations within the organization.
Pharmaceuticals and Insurance
With an advance degree, HIIM professionals are also able to easily move into other health-related industries like pharmaceutical and insurance companies. These have very intense data management and analysis needs that can promise rewarding career opportunities. For instance, clinical trials require sophisticated data analyses which HIIM experts are trained for. In this job, the health informatics worker utilizes various types of software like Access or SAS in analyzing and processing data. On the other hand, the HIIM degree-holder can work alongside or provide analytic support to a team of actuaries in insurance companies as they have better understanding of the nature of clinical data and other health-related information.
As HIIM professionals continue to gain skills and knowledge on the flow of business operations and coordination activities, they can move into gaining management roles in hospitals, pharmacies, and consulting firms. These workers are also in great demand by the government in public health setting to analyze public health issues. Also, others can also go for a teaching career and train future HIIM professionals. Because there is high demand for these types of worker, the demand for experts for training and education purposes is also very high. Therefore, a teaching career is also an attractive option for HIIM graduates.
Salary of HIM Professionals
Like any other sector, salary of those in health information system will vary by the job performed. The following charts show the salary of health information systems and management professionals and their average salary by work setting and job level (provided by Ahima.org):
The above graph shows the salary for those in health information systems and management by job level, with executive positions making the most money (as expected) at $111,250. Then you have clerical and admin support jobs that make an average of $32,871. But after the clerical jobs in HIM, you see a huge jump in average salary (almost $11,000 jump) when you are an health information management technician (or derivative roles) with an average salary of $43,042. After that, we don’t see quite as big of a jump until we get to a HIM compliance officer, who makes an average of $72,215.
The above chart shows health informatics and information systems salary by work setting. Those in consulting make the most, with an average salary of $81,561. In second in terms of average salary are those who work in integrated healthcare delivery systems, a fancy way of saying those who work for big healthcare networks consisting of hospitals. And those who are in home and hospice care make the least, at $41,415. After that are those in ambulatory surgery centers, at $43,070, and private (small) clinics/physician practices. For more information on other workplace settings, refer to the graph above (also provided by Ahima.org).
The above chart should come at no suprise to you—-those with higher degrees make more. What is somewhat surprising is the high average salary for those with associate degrees in health informatics and information management—with an average annual salary of $59,489. Those with baccalaureate degrees make an average of $68,123. And those with master’s degrees make an average of $81,879.