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Health Information: Understanding the Distinction Between HIT and HIM

Beal University is programmatically accredited for its HIT and HIM programs.

The fields of Health Information Technology (HIT) and Health Information Management (HIM) play vital roles in managing and leveraging health data for improved patient care and operational efficiency. While these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they represent distinct disciplines with unique focuses and job opportunities. Let’s delve into the differences between HIT and HIM, as well as the personality traits commonly associated with individuals interested in each field.

Health Information Technology (HIT)

Health Information Technology (HIT) encompasses the use of technology to manage and exchange health information. Professionals in this field are responsible for developing, implementing, and maintaining electronic health records (EHRs), health information systems, and other technology solutions that support the storage and exchange of health data.

Types of Jobs in HIT:

  • Medical Coder: Assigns diagnostic and procedural codes to patient records for billing and reimbursement purposes
  • Clinical Documentation Specialist: Ensures the accuracy and completeness of patient medical records, supporting quality patient care and regulatory compliance
  • EHR Specialist: Responsible for implementing and maintaining electronic health record systems within healthcare facilities
  • Release of Information Specialists: Retrieves and processes all medical records requests for patients, legal representatives and law enforcement in accordance with state and federal privacy laws

Personality Traits Associated with HIT

  • Tech-Savvy: Individuals interested in HIT often possess a strong affinity for technology and enjoy working with software and digital systems
  • Analytical: Attention to detail and analytical skills are crucial in HIT, as professionals must interpret complex health data to drive informed decisions
  • Problem-Solving: HIT professionals thrive in environments where they can identify and solve technical challenges to optimize health information systems

Health Information Management (HIM)

Health Information Management (HIM) focuses on the organization, accuracy, and security of health information. HIM professionals ensure that health data is accurately recorded, stored, and protected in compliance with regulatory standards.

Types of Jobs in HIM:

  • Health Information Manager: Supervises and coordinates the activities of Health Information System operations personnel including the selection, training, and evaluation
  • Data Quality Analyst: Analyzes and interprets health data to improve patient outcomes, streamline workflows, and inform decision-making
  • Health Information Project Analyst: Navigates between multiple health information systems to analyze, perform gap assessments, and report to the HIM and leadership
  • Privacy Officer: Oversees all ongoing activities related to the development, implementation, maintenance of, and adherence to the organization’s policies and procedures covering the privacy of, and access to, patient health information

Personality Traits Associated with HIM:

  • Detail-Oriented: HIM professionals possess a meticulous attention to detail, ensuring accuracy and completeness in health records and documentation
  • Organized: Given the complexity of managing health information, individuals in HIM roles excel in organizational skills to maintain order and efficiency
  • Compliance-Focused: HIM professionals prioritize compliance with healthcare regulations and standards to protect patient privacy and ensure data integrity
Click here for AHIMA’s Interactive Career Map

While both Health Information Technology (HIT) and Health Information Management (HIM) play critical roles in healthcare, they represent distinct disciplines with unique focuses and job opportunities. Understanding the differences between HIT and HIM can help individuals pursue career paths that align with their skills, interests, and personality traits.

It is worth checking out the interactive map available through AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) that allows visitors to look more deeply at traditional and emerging roles in health information, click on the titles, and see descriptions of the jobs.

Is Beal’s Health Information Technology Career Right for You?

Beal University can help you launch your career in HIT and/or HIM.

In 18 months, you can earn an associate degree in HIT. The program caters to individuals seeking flexible, home-based jobs. It includes fundamental courses in health information technology to prepare graduates for positions in medical coding, revenue cycle management, HIPAA privacy, and data analytics.

In 38 months, you can earn a bachelor’s degree in HIM. Students learn health information systems, quality improvement, project management, health data statistics and research, human resources, and financial management.

The Health Information Associate program, as well as the Bachelor’s program, are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). CAHIIM accreditation of both degree programs makes our students eligible to take the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)* or Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)** exams to become certified professionals.

If you’re interested in learning more about a career in Health Information Technology or Health Information Management, fill out the form to receive more information. A friendly Beal University Career Advisor can answer career questions, guide you to our virtual tour, and get you helpful financial aid information. Get the answers you need to discover the perfect career path for you.

* Students of the associates program are eligible to take the RHIT certification exam during the last semester.
** Students of the bachelors program are eligible to take the RHIA certification exam during the last semester.