What Does a Health Information Manager Do? (With Skills)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 January 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Healthcare professionals note their patient's personal details, condition and treatment when they receive medical attention. This valuable information helps medical specialists like doctors guide a patient's future treatment. Learning about roles that manage health information can help you decide which health information management career path is right for you. In this article, we describe what a health information manager does, discuss the skills and qualifications necessary for the job and explore what you can expect to earn in the role.

What does a health information manager do?

To answer the question 'what does a health information manager do', health information managers collect, update, organise and log healthcare related information. The information can come from many sources, including those providing and receiving healthcare services. Managers also help collect information by designing and revising forms that help healthcare providers collect data.

Health information managers collect data for various purposes. They use it to keep records of a facility's activities over time and to manage insurance claims. They also sort and analyse it to look for patterns and useful information. For example, a sudden increase in reported food poisoning cases in a particular area could show an outbreak stemming from a certain restaurant. Here's some of the other information that healthcare information managers might collect:

  • patient's medical history

  • patient's physical examination results

  • patient's medical procedure results

  • patient's lab or blood test results

  • medical codes of diseases treated or procedures undertaken

  • attending healthcare provider information

  • insurance claims submitted

  • incidences of infectious diseases

  • deaths and births over a certain period

  • numbers and types of surgical procedures undertaken

Health information manager responsibilities

While healthcare information managers have many responsibilities, one of their major functions involves working with record-keeping systems. Most of the information they collect goes into a digital centralised record or health information system. These formal systems keep collected data organised and accessible, which is why healthcare information managers help create them. They're often responsible for capturing historical data in digital format and digitising collected information in a way that's accurate and actionable. These systems are often cloud-based and operate as software as a service (SaaS) applications. This enables users to access the system from any device.

The integrity and reliability of centralised record system functionality is critical. Healthcare information managers regularly test them and develop quality assurance programs to maintain them. Often, these record systems collect sensitive and confidential information. Healthcare information managers help to develop policies and procedures to handle these types of information and control who can access it. They also help to ensure the facility's data capture methods and storage protocols meet legal and ethical requirements.

Health information managers may also conduct the following tasks:

  • undertaking coding/revenue cycle management for budgeting purposes

  • monitoring disease related information from healthcare facilities and government institutions, including current infection rates

  • creating usable information products from interpreted and stored data such as smart phone data capture applications

  • determining key indicators for information systems including health determinants, outputs, inputs and outcomes

  • creating dissemination programs outlining how the data is available, who accesses it and how it's used to prevent unauthorised access or illegal activities

  • implementing any changes in regulations or legislation to information systems, logistics support and employee processes

Education for a health information manager

To become a healthcare information manager, you can complete a bachelor's degree in science or health science degree majoring in health information management (HIM) from an accredited university. If you have a bachelor's degree in a related field, you could qualify to complete a postgraduate qualification in HIM. Earning an educational qualification has several benefits, including:

  • Meeting minimum employment requirements: Employers may require candidates for health information management roles to earn a minimum educational qualification. Earning a bachelor's degree can help ensure you meet employers' education requirements.

  • Offering networking opportunities: As you earn a bachelor's degree, you can meet other students, professors and health information management professionals and build relationships with them. Taking advantage of networking opportunities may help you learn about open positions during your job search.

  • Providing proof of your knowledge: You can list your bachelor's degree on your resume, you can prove your knowledge and skills in healthcare management to employers.

What skills do health information managers require?

Being a healthcare information manager combines several skills. You may draw on information technology (IT) skills when building an information system. At other times, you might communicate with people and employ human resource (HR) management skills for these tasks. If your role is senior, you might require management skills to develop staff training programs and ensure staff adheres to workplace regulations. If you're working with budgets, financial management skills help track spending and appropriately allocate resources.

Possessing certain soft skills may make your day-to-day functioning as a health information manager easier. This includes the ability to communicate with a range of stakeholders clearly. Attention to detail and a high level of accuracy are also useful when managing data and systems. An ability to critically analyse data could help you detect patterns and predict certain outcomes.

Related: 20 Careers in Health Science

Why are health information managers important?

Health information managers are integral to organisations wanting to operate an ethical, reliable and efficient healthcare service. They do this by offering these benefits:

  • They help healthcare organisations ethically manage and protect sensitive information.

  • They ensure an organisation's information management process is legally compliant.

  • They safeguard patient records to protect them from abuse or discrimination relating to their health.

  • They ensure that collected data has integrity by eliminating errors.

  • They increase the efficiency at which professionals access information.

  • They transform collected data into insights that inform decisions.

  • They help healthcare facilities identify operational areas to be improved.

  • They generate public health information that can prevent outbreaks or pandemics.

Where do healthcare information managers work?

Healthcare information managers can work at any institution that generates healthcare information and needs someone to manage it. Most healthcare information managers work in public or private hospitals, but they can also work in government health departments and medical research centres. Some work for private employers, such as private healthcare practices, educational facilities or consultancies.

Healthcare information managers usually work standard office hours as the job doesn't require urgency. Others might work on weekends or at night if needed.

7 health information jobs

Once you have a healthcare information management degree, you can pursue a range of careers in addition to becoming a healthcare information manager. Here are some popular career paths you could pursue with this qualification:

1. Health information manager

National average salary: $99,066 per year

Primary duties: Health information managers manage integrated medical records for an organisation and prepare and analyse clinical data. They develop workplace procedures and training manuals to improve their clinical information documentation. They also ensure the organisation adheres to any relevant laws and oversee medical coding staff members.

2. Patient advocate

National average salary: $63,304 per year

Primary duties: Patient advocates help patients communicate with healthcare professionals and set up appointments. They also educate patients on their rights and help them secure support. If necessary, they help patients resolve their healthcare-related issues or complaints.

3. Health information technician

National average salary: $76,788 per year

Primary duties: Health information technicians collect and maintain patient information for a specific healthcare facility, like a hospital or doctor's office. They update and correct information such as a patient's diagnostic results, symptoms they're experiencing, the patient's medical history and any other data the healthcare professional might want.

4. Medical coder

National average salary: $68,410 per year

Primary duties: Medical coders use patient information to code and verify health insurance claims and capture this information in the facility's database. They work in a range of healthcare settings, ranging from hospitals to nursing homes.

Related: What Is a Medical Coder? (With FAQs)

5. Revenue cycle specialist

National average salary: $100,494 per year

Primary duties: Revenue cycle specialists oversee the process by which patients submit medical claims to insurance companies. They manage billing data and other tasks relating to a healthcare organisation's income. They also maintain a healthcare organisation's financial health by managing its billing data and other tasks related to its income.

6. Health information management clerk

National average salary: $57,940 per year

Primary duties: Health information management clerks keep patient data and records organised and updated. They file, store and process patient's medical information and oversee its release when required. Some health information management clerks perform coding and billing tasks.

7. Clinical research associate

National average salary: $92,078 per year

Primary duties: Medical research analysts conduct investigations and regulatory activities. They also conduct research, trials and studies in various medical settings. Their specific duties often depend on their work environment. Most analysts work in hospitals, labs, research sites and medical facilities.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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