Health Information Mgt or informatics

  1. 1
    Hi.
    I wanted to know what differences/similarites there are btw. health information managment and medical informatics?

    I got into a HIM program and waiting to hear about a medical informatics program. I have a BS degree in Business-HR Management and no healthcare work experience. I am just wondering how I would fit into either area and what I can do to strengthen my clinical background. Just wanted to hear your opinions.

    Thanks a lot!
    rninformatics likes this.
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  4. 10
    I know the terms HIM and HIT/HIS are sometimes used interchangeably but they are two very distinct professions. Both HIM and HIT/HIS professionals practice in the same environments - healthcare - hospitals, clinics, integrated delivery networks, home health agencies, physician practices, payors, providers, insurers.


    Health Information Management professionals (otherwise known as Medical Records Professionals) primarily work with the medical record related to physically securing the paper records, organizing records and documents via the terminal digit order numbering system; medical terminology; coding of diagnoses and procedures for reimbursement and transcribing medical records and reports.
    Directors or managers of hospital Medical Records departments can hold the position of HIPAA Privacy Officer although they may have no specific technical IT training related to security and computer information systems.
    Accredited HIM programs are offered at colleges and universities at the associate, baccalaureate and Masters degree levels

    HIM/Medical Records professionals usually belong to AHIMA - the Association of Health Information Management.
    AHIMA also provides certification/credentials:

    Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)
    Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
    Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) and Physician-based (CCS-P)
    Certified Coding Associate (CCA)
    Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS)

    HIM/Medical Records professionals usually do not have any information systems or information technology specific technical skills, training or background.

    I have never met an HIM professional who writes code or is a programmer. CIOs do not have medical records credentials. There are HIM analysts and HIM professionals who configure, test, design and implement HIM, coding and transcription systems that support the department of medical records/HIM dept. More common is the HIS/HIT analysts who configure, test, design and implement medical records depts, nursing, lab, pharmacy and other HIT/HIS applications/systems.

    Degrees in HIT/HIS can range from the associate to the PhD level. Be purely technical (such as a programming degree or a degree in Computer Science or IS) or a mix of clinical such as a Masters in Nursing, Healthcare or Medical Informatics.

    Titles/roles in HIT/HIS are numerous: Analyst, Systems Administrator, Network Administration, Clinical Analyst, Clinical Systems Analyst, Clinical Applications Analyst, Clinical Informatics Specialist, Programmer, CIO, Director/Assistant Director HIS, Director Clinical Informatics, Director IS/IT, Project Manager, Manager, CIS; PC, Support, PC Tech, Help Desk Analyst, Help Desk Support, Help Desk Staff, Director Medical Informatics, Trainer, Clinical Applications Trainer, Informatics Coordinator, etc, etc, etc

    Certification in a particular subspecialty of informatics can be obtained via a college or university program, or on a national level such as NI certification from the ANA/ANCC or via the HIT professional organization - HIMSS - The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Oh, and lets not forget Microsoft certifications and certifications obtained from the numerous different vendors that produce clinical apps.

    If an HIT/HIS professional holds the title of HIPAA Privacy or Security Officer they usually have experience and a background in the technical aspects of systems and network security along with foundational knowledge in privacy and confidentially of medical records.

    Medical Informatics is considered a subspecialty of Healthcare Informatics. HIT, HIS, Medical, Nursing, Pharmacy, Healthcare Informatics professionals' practice areas are not limited to just the electronic or paper medical record.
    Those in this specialty usually have training and experience with multiple computerized/electronic systems and clinical applications such as EMRs/EHRs, CPOE, Bar code medication administration, Telehealth, project management, change management, process design/redesign, system design, testing, planning, implementation, standards development, downtime processes and procedures, interoperability, system integration, networks, etc

    HIT professional’s roles primarily deal with the utilization of technology within healthcare to transform data into information into knowledge to improve clinical practice and patient care.

    As far as how you would increase your "clinical background". I do not know how to advise you on this as you have never practiced as a clinician. Perhaps what you are looking for is to increase your knowledge of how healthcare works; how nursing and medicine are practiced from a business and operations stand point?? Since you have a degree in Business, perhaps what you are looking for is inceased knowledge related to the operations of a hospital or healthcare provider organization?? How hospitals, clinics and physician practices operate/run??
    In addition: How these institutions operate in relationship to computer systems for business functions, billing, back office, reimbursement and claims transmission?


    Quote from aspenice
    Hi.
    I wanted to know what differences/similarites there are btw. health information managment and medical informatics?

    I got into a HIM program and waiting to hear about a medical informatics program. I have a BS degree in Business-HR Management and no healthcare work experience. I am just wondering how I would fit into either area and what I can do to strengthen my clinical background. Just wanted to hear your opinions.

    Thanks a lot!
    Last edit by rninformatics on Mar 27, '09 : Reason: cause, typos, etc
    Jay406, slave_diverRN, Bebet39, and 7 others like this.
  5. 0
    Thank you for that very detailed and informative answer about the differences btw. HIT/HIM and informatics. I am not coming with any clinical experience but a lot of business and computer experience. I have applied to one medical informatics program but haven't heard from they yet. My question is how I get into this field without clinical experience since it seems one should have it. I definately do not want to go the HIM route.
  6. 1
    My scenario is just the opposite. I have 20+ years of nursing and I am now in a MSN/informatics graduate program. My concerns are that I have been out of the traditional setting for the last 10 years doing insurance case management so now I am worried that I will not have the recent clinical experience employers want as well as I'll be a newby in informatics. Any suggestions for me on how I can land a good job with my new degree?
    rninformatics likes this.
  7. 0
    I'd say capatize and focus on the fact that you have been an RN for 20 plus years. That 20 years means you are not a novice - whether or not its recent bedside hands on experience or not. Highlight what your graduate degree program has taught you related to the fundementals of data, information and knowledge.
    Good Luck!


    Quote from TJmich
    My scenario is just the opposite. I have 20+ years of nursing and I am now in a MSN/informatics graduate program. My concerns are that I have been out of the traditional setting for the last 10 years doing insurance case management so now I am worried that I will not have the recent clinical experience employers want as well as I'll be a newby in informatics. Any suggestions for me on how I can land a good job with my new degree?
  8. 1
    Would you recommend any additional classes to boost my education. When I do a search for jobs, it is scary that I have no idea what employers are asking for.
    rninformatics likes this.
  9. 2
    At this point I'd say no, no additinal classes until you specifially know what role you are looking to secure.
    At the very basic end of application competency with MS Office products (Excell and Word, Powerpoint) at the high end: MS Project, Access, Visio. Continueing on with skills such as project management, experience with change managment, system design, redesign, presentation skills, etc

    Do you want to be an analyst, a project manager, build or manage data bases, implement sytems, work for a vendor, work for a hospital, what?

    Take a look at the job boards of both AMIA and ANIA. This will give you a basic idea of the variety of roles employers are looking to fill and the skill sets needed.
    Good Luck

    Quote from TJmich
    Would you recommend any additional classes to boost my education. When I do a search for jobs, it is scary that I have no idea what employers are asking for.
    oahugirl and 3rdcareerRN like this.
  10. 0
    I am still in my nursing core classes and have not begun my four specialty informatics classes yet. So it is confusing when I read job boards and don't really understand what experience they are looking for. I am somewhat of a novice at computers so this is making me nervous that I'm not a computer geek but rather a novice at computers. I have no formal computer training but was advised that I would not need alot of computer training to master informatics. Is this true?
  11. 0
    Do you have some tips or where to get a cert in HIT from? i have found about 3 online. and I am thinking of continuing on to a Masters in HIT? any reccs about where I could attend other than UIC? excelsior and u phoenix programs are MSN with spec in Informatics/ but I am thinkin of a more universal/umbrella degree? what are your thoughts on that? thank you!
  12. 0
    OKay so you are both a novice in nursing........no you have not completed your nursing degree program, sat for state boards nor practiced as an RN yet, correct?
    You are also a novice in computers too? And your question is "will you need a lot of computer training to master informatics?"
    I'd say you need fundamental experience in nursing then decide what it is you want to do in informatics before talking about "mastering" it.
    Good Luck

    Quote from TJmich
    I am still in my nursing core classes and have not begun my four specialty informatics classes yet. So it is confusing when I read job boards and don't really understand what experience they are looking for. I am somewhat of a novice at computers so this is making me nervous that I'm not a computer geek but rather a novice at computers. I have no formal computer training but was advised that I would not need alot of computer training to master informatics. Is this true?


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