The 13 Best Health Information Management Jobs: Requirements, Salaries, Outlook + More
October 11, 2021
As unstructured data and a lack of analytical capability keep healthcare providers from unlocking their organizations' full potential, HIM professionals with the knowledge and skills to manage and protect this data are more crucial than ever.
The digitization of healthcare has given rise to numerous tools and resources that empower patients and providers. So too have the significant advances in collection, storage, processing, analysis, and distribution of data in information technology (IT).
Even so, this glut of unstructured data and a lack of ability to make sense of it have kept many healthcare providers from unlocking their organizations' full potential. That's why health information management (HIM) professionals with the knowledge and skills to manage and protect this data and information are increasingly in demand.
To meet the need, graduate schools have created programs to prepare aspiring HIM professionals to implement and manage information systems in complex healthcare environments. From health information management, health informatics, and information systems to specialized computer science and IT paths, these programs often focus on the development and mastery of technical, analytical, leadership, and communication skills needed to pursue opportunities in the managerial, executive, and academic arenas.
Let's take a look at what some of the top HIM jobs have to offer. Our guide to the 13 best health information management jobs covers:
- Do I need a master's in health information management?
- Top 13 health information management jobs
- Top master's in health information management programs
- Top online master's in health information management programs
Do I need a master's in health information management?
While an associate's or bachelor's degree will open doors to a range of full-time, entry-level jobs in the HIM field, today's healthcare environment places an even greater demand on HIM practitioners to function at increasingly higher skill levels. In short, there's a growing need for professionals with advanced educational credentials.
In a 2020 report from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) assessing current professional skills and industry demand in health information management, researchers found that while the percentage of HIM professionals holding an associate's or bachelor's degree remained stable from 2002 to 2016, the number of professionals with a master's steadily increased from roughly 10 percent in 2002 to 15 percent in 2016. In the report, AHIMA also proposed to increase the number of members with graduate degrees by 20 percent within the next 10 years.
Greater education in health information management not only facilitates deep understanding of the complexities of health data but also fast-tracks your progress to landing advanced roles in the field, higher pay included. In a 2019 salary report detailing the experiences and perspectives of more than 3,000 US health information professionals, 40 percent of participants said that education level had the most significant influence on their ability to rise through the ranks of their field. The only factor more crucial than educational level was professional experience, which 59 percent said was most important.
What is a master's in health information management?
Master's programs in health information management and other closely related fields are designed to equip students with a unique combination of healthcare, business, and IT expertise. Programs typically emphasize how to:
- Manage health information to support data-driven improvements in clinical, financial, and care outcomes
- Assess the role of economics, ethics, professional standards, and the law on health information
- Develop health policies and procedures to allow the flow of information necessary to promote high-quality care while protecting sensitive patient information
Some programs allow students to tailor their coursework to reflect their intended career path by offering specialized tracks to provide them with deeper exposure, education, and training in a specific area of health information management. The online Master of Science in Information Management (MSIM) from the University of Washington, for example, offers options in business intelligence (BI) and data science.
What can you do with a bachelor's degree in health information management?
Full-time students can typically earn their bachelor's degree in health information management in about four years. After completing their degree, graduates can pursue roles focused on analytics, electronic medical record development and maintenance, education, and research. Common job titles with a bachelor's include:
- Bioinformatics specialist
- Health information technician
- Medical coder
- Health information administrator
- Medical research analyst
- Insurance claims analyst
- Patient information coordinator
- Records technician
- Physician practice manager
Opportunities with a master's degree
Hospitals, community health centers, government health services organizations, academic medical centers, insurance companies, and the pharmaceutical industry provide areas of opportunity for HIM professionals with a master's degree. The following job titles are just some pathways to take. Each includes an overview of responsibilities and focus in the field alongside salary data sourced from Glassdoor.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Business intelligence analyst
Business intelligence analysts are primarily responsible for analyzing data to identify areas where an organization can improve and provide solutions to potential organizational obstacles. Whether in or outside the health system, people who pursue job postings in the field must have keen technical, quantitative, and problem-solving skills as well as strong communication and presentation skills to efficiently share their findings with their organization.
Business intelligence analyst: job description
Business intelligence analysts in the healthcare realm use their big data and data analysis skills and strong business acumen to support their organization's financial and clinical operations and help drive its business decisions. Responsibilities in this role typically mix administrative and technical tasks, including organizing and managing large and varied data sets, analyzing organizational, competitor, and industry data to optimize business operations, and communicating their findings through data visualization and detailed reports.
How much does a business intelligence analyst make?
According to Glassdoor salary data, business intelligence analysts working in the healthcare and hospital industry make an average base salary of $70,139 per year.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Chief information officer (CIO)
While the CIO's role was initially established to oversee IT infrastructure and related services, organizations increasingly look to these C-suite leaders to use IT to empower decision-making and operations and focus on business performance at the strategic level.
Chief information officer: job description
As information technology leaders with expertise in how healthcare organizations deliver patient care, CIOs are responsible for providing the overall direction of strategic planning, development, evaluation, and coordination of a wide range of health informatics and technology systems. Their focus is typically inward, requiring day-to-day tasks ranging from analyzing how various information systems benefit their organization and fine-tuning electronic health record (EHR) software to training doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to use clinical information technologies in the workplace.
How much does a chief information officer make?
Healthcare industry-specific data on CIO salaries aren't available from Glassdoor. However, the site reports that across all industries, those in this role make an average base salary of $175,211 per year, plus additional incentives in bonuses and profit-sharing plans.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Chief technology officer (CTO)
Many organizations employ both a Chief Information Officer (CIO) and a Chief Technology Officer (CTO), making differentiation between the two confusing. How they contrast generally boils down to focus. Whereas CIOs typically look inward to improve processes and operations within their organization. CTOs, tend to look outward, using technology to enhance or innovate products that serve the customers.
Chief technology officer: job description
A relatively new position in the executive ranks, CTOs are constantly searching for new healthcare information technology to improve customer-oriented operations, which may range from scheduling appointments and refilling prescriptions over the internet to accessing medical information. As the highest-ranking technology specialist in their organization, they're responsible for developing technology-focused policies and procedures to best support a positive patient experience and understanding potential problems patients may face from a technological perspective. Their mission includes helping patients understand the technology their organization uses.
How much does a chief technology officer make?
Glassdoor's data across all industries indicates that CTOs make an average annual base salary of $180,509, plus additional incentives in bonuses and profit-sharing plans.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Compliance auditor
In healthcare, protecting patient information is just as important as the delivery of quality care. Compliance auditors perform one of the roles that help ensure such adherence. As a result, they must have strong interpersonal and communication skills alongside a firm grasp of their industry.
Compliance auditor: job description
While employers may vary based on team size and patient demographic, this role is generally in charge of reviewing and monitoring whether the organization conforms to all policies and laws in patient safety, privacy, and health information technology. They apply their expertise to conducting investigations and audits to identify areas of risk. They also draft plans to improve compliance practices to address those risks and report these findings to a health information manager or compliance manager and those at the executive level.
How much does a compliance auditor make?
According to Glassdoor, compliance auditors employed in the healthcare industry make an average base salary of $56,327 per year.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Data integrity analyst
Data integrity refers to the accuracy and consistency of data throughout its life—in other words, for as long as that piece of data is maintained and used within an organization. Since data is only valid as long as it remains accurate and uncompromised, data integrity analysts are fundamental to healthcare organization's aim to use aggregated information efficiently.
Data integrity analyst: job description
Data integrity analysts' primary goal is to manage their organization's data by monitoring its network against malicious breaches, disparities, and errors, frequently in the realm of patient records or electronic medical records, pharmaceutical data, and billing information. They're responsible for assessing the integrity of clinical documentation and coded data through an analytical process that provides an objective assessment of institutional data quality over time. This allows confidence that the data has been tested and can also uncover areas where their organization's data collection, storage, or transmission procedures can be improved.
How much does a data integrity analyst make?
Glassdoor data on data integrity analyst salaries in the healthcare sphere indicates an average annual base salary of $62,398.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Director of risk management
Risk management directors play a vital role in reducing legal, financial, and healthcare-related risks. They need strong technical, programming, problem-solving, and communication skills, as well as an in-depth understanding of all facets of clinical practice and medical terminology.
Director of risk management: job description
Directors of risk management play a vital role in reducing threats to sensitive patient, legal, and financial information. Often holding experience as health information managers, they're responsible for leading efforts to continuously audit and analyze records and practices that help identify opportunities to optimize organizational safety and performance. In an industry as highly regulated as healthcare, these metrics can directly and significantly impact patient safety and quality of care, institutional accreditation, data security, data risk, and a range of other factors.
How much does a director of risk management make?
According to industry-specific data from Glassdoor, directors of risk management employed in healthcare make an average base salary of $113,962 per year.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Director of strategic execution
Directors of strategic execution provide high-level business planning, project management, and analytical support for their healthcare organization's strategic initiatives. Most job listings in the field require candidates with ample experience in project management.
Director of strategic execution: job description
Directors of strategic execution are responsible for helping organizations translate strategic initiatives into real-life measures over a defined timeframe. Such initiatives are typically aligned with an organization's vision and list of priorities and typically focus on short- and long-term goals. Professionals in this role often collaborate with senior management team members to determine their healthcare organization's track in the marketplace while evaluating its position alongside information about industry and market trends, threats, and possible business opportunities. From here, they develop and maintain project specifications, including business and user requirements and functional and operating systems specifications. Other related duties include measuring project growth timeliness and performance and evaluating the execution of different initiatives against expected costs and benefits.
How much does a director of strategic execution make?
According to Glassdoor data, directors of strategic execution working across industries make an average base salary of $173,604 per year.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Director of strategic technology initiatives
Those seeking out a career as a director of strategic technology initiatives must have a knack for all things information and technology, a penchant for solving complex problems, and the ability to put short- and long-term goals into action.
Director of strategic technology initiatives: job description
The director of strategic technology initiatives—or simply "strategic initiatives"—provides leadership on information technology initiatives within their organization by overseeing daily tasks and operations and maintaining adherence to its operating procedures and defined support processes. Often reporting to the CIO or CTO as a member of senior management, they serve as a point person for the direction, coordination, and management of healthcare data and information technology initiatives and are ultimately responsible for ensuring their staff or department completes related projects successfully. Other day-to-day tasks include overseeing technology purchases, coaching and mentoring various clinical and non-clinical team members, and ensuring technology systems' security and privacy.
How much does a director of strategic technology initiatives make?
According to Glassdoor data on healthcare-specific pay, directors of strategic initiatives make an average base salary of $137,688 a year.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Manager of business systems
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), computer and information systems managers' employment is projected to grow 10 percent by 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. That's good news for experienced HIM professionals with critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills and extensive computer software and hardware knowledge.
Manager of business systems: job description
As a significant point of contact between IT and business, managers of business systems (or business system managers) are responsible for managing their organizations' IT systems and identifying, recommending, and implementing IT solutions to help drive business forward. While specific duties within this role often depend on their organization's size and dependency on technology, most business system managers work in a supervisory manner with systems analysts, software developers, coders, and other IT specialists to monitor their organizations' systems through regular tests and analysis and report any progress, changes, and potential areas for improvement. When planning for new projects, they must spend ample time researching and estimating costs and establishing specifications by developing project goals, phases, and budgets.
How much does a manager of business systems make?
Glassdoor data indicates that business systems managers working in the healthcare industry make an average base salary of $69,076 per year. The average across all industries is slightly higher at $72,637.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Manager of data science/analytics
Leveraging data leads to more predictive healthcare and improved outcomes and, ultimately, advances in the healthcare industry. To this end, healthcare providers have realized the need for data science/analytics experts who can turn hunches into insights and have a knack for knowing where each member of their team of digital analysts' skills will prove most productive for the organization.
Manager of data science/analytics: job description
Data science/analytics managers play a significant role in defining how their healthcare organization turns raw data into actionable insights, which, in turn, are used for decision making and strategic planning across a range of business areas. As the leader of their organization's data science team, this role requires a combination of advanced database systems and programming knowledge with strong interpersonal and project management skills. Day-to-day tasks often find them working alongside data scientists and engineers to provide valuable direction and expertise necessary to understand and address key business questions. In healthcare, this can include everything from EHRs and pharmaceutical research to payer systems, clinical trials, and even demographics of high-risk patients.
How much does a manager of data science/analytics make?
According to Glassdoor, data science managers employed in the healthcare industry make an average base salary of $130,515 per year.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Project manager
While project managers working in various healthcare settings may manage projects as wide-ranging as securing medical supplies or coordinating the launch of research initiatives, those based in health information management typically oversee projects that involve—you guessed it—healthcare IT.
Project manager: job description
The main goal of professionals in this niche is very much like project managers across industries: to aid in the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing of projects that produce consistent, measurable results. But it's also unique in that it combines a need for technical expertise with business acumen and, often, clinical operations to handle the implementation of new systems and oversee how new technologies impact operations and patient care. Day-to-day responsibilities may include creating status reports for management, ensuring compliance with regulatory bodies, managing timelines, specifying project plans and costs, and overseeing work schedules. Working with vendors to allocate resources and negotiate deals is often part of the job too.
How much does a project manager make?
Glassdoor data indicates that project managers employed in the healthcare sector make an average base salary of $63,171 per year.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Senior data analyst
Senior data analysts employed in healthcare must have in-depth knowledge of their organization's clinical operations and financial practices, as well as a mastery of all things data. Some in the field may seek out certification as a Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) to further prove their expertise in health data analysis.
Senior data analyst: job description
A lead analyst among their team, senior data analysts play a critical role in helping shape how their healthcare organization grows by leading data-focused projects that improve quality of care, lower costs, and enhance the patient experience. Often, their work involves collaborating with other teams and departments and selecting the most impactful projects to address, which may range from digitizing medical records, drug research, and genetic disease exploration to improving medical image quality and managing patient data. When starting a new project, they often oversee the collection and cleansing of data, manage the creation of reports and dashboards, promote findings to upper management, and assign tasks to junior team members.
How much does a senior data analyst make?
Glassdoor reports that across industries, senior data analysts make an average annual base pay of $78,204. Those employed in healthcare can expect a slightly lesser average of $73,005 annually.
Top 13 health information management jobs: Senior systems analyst
Senior systems analyst roles in healthcare require project management and analytical skills, creativity, and an in-depth understanding of various programming languages.
Senior systems analyst: job description
Senior systems analysts employed in healthcare oversee their organization's computer systems. While more specific job duties may vary depending on the size and focus of an organization, this role typically plays a lead in ensuring these systems can support current clinical and business operations while providing input on any adjustments or changes needed for future growth and efficiency. Senior systems analysts may also oversee a team of junior employees and develop guidelines for training staff on system guidelines and processes as well as troubleshooting issues, managing risks, and providing ongoing technical support.
How much does a senior systems analyst make?
Senior systems analysts employed in the healthcare industry make an average annual base salary of $73,228 per year.
Top master's in health information management programs
Our selection of top health information management programs is based on a combination of US News & World Report rankings and our own research. Top master's programs in HIM include:
- Case Western Reserve University
- Cornell University
- George Washington University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Ohio State University (Main Campus)
- Rush University
- University of Iowa
- University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
- University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
- University of Mississippi
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Virginia Commonwealth University
Top online master's in health information management programs
An increasing number of schools now offer a HIM master's online. Top providers include:
- Boston University
- Johns Hopkins University
- Marquette University
- New York University
- University of Alabama at Birmingham
- University of Cincinnati Main Campus University of Maryland - University College
- University of Massachusetts - Lowell
- University of South Florida Main Campus
- University of Southern California University of Washington
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
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