Description of Health Information Management

Health Information Management (HIM) encompasses a wide scope of practice with an ever-increasing number of roles drawing from the core skill sets learned in an accredited HIM Program. The HIM career path spans many types of organizations and diverse roles. All HIM opportunities have, at their core, managing health information regardless of format, creator or purpose. HIM professionals are part of a team of people, processes and technology that work together to enable and support quality care of the individual.

What is HIM?

Health Information Management (HIM) encompasses a wide scope of practice with an ever-increasing number of roles each drawing from the core skill sets learned in an accredited HIM program. From its roots in managing Health Records in a hospital, the HIM career path spans many types of organizations and diverse roles. All HIM opportunities have as their core, managing health information regardless of format (paper, electronic, mixed media), creator (physician, nurse, physiotherapist etc.), or purpose (for care, for research, for funding, etc.).

What do HIMs do?

HIM professionals are the only certified experts in the science and technology of health information management. Their key role is to maintain the integrity and confidentiality of personal health information within the Domains of Practice: Data Quality, Privacy, eHIM and Health Information Management standards.

HIMs:

  • Contribute to healthcare delivery as members of the healthcare team
  • Manage health information services in health facilities
  • Work with confidential health records: format, content, quality and use
  • Use technologies to capture, manage and analyse data
  • Prepare, analyse and present health information for use in health care delivery and financial and management planning
  • Interact with medical staff, health providers and management
  • May specialize in areas such as research, management, quality improvement, risk analysis, clinical trials and clinical-financial resource integration
  • Maintain skills, knowledge and expertise through mandatory Continuing Professional Education (CPE).

Who do they work with?

HIM’s work with the entire clinical team. The HIM professional assists the health system (from consumer to researchers) in managing access to data: who can see what, when, under what circumstances, etc. An HIM professional could be a Privacy Analyst, Access Coordinator, Chief Privacy Officer, Health Information Broker, Information Security Officer, Audit Manager, etc. These roles exist in everything from individual clinics to Privacy Commissions, government, or any agency that collects or manages health information.

How do HIMs become CHIM certified?

Only graduates of CHIMA recognized health information management education programs may take the national certification examination.

National certification provides the graduate with recognition and portability of credentials across Canada. Upon certification, individuals become bound by the profession’s Code of Ethics. Certification is required for active membership with CHIMA.

What will the role of HIMs be when the Ehealth record gets rolled out across Canada?

HIM work is pervasive across the Canadian health care landscape. HIM professionals ensure quality health data is available for immediate patient care - for disease surveillance, for planning and managing resources, for research and many other secondary uses. HIM professionals are highly skilled in data collection, coding and classification, data analysis and use, information and records management. They understand the processes to maintain the paper and hybrid record and work with other professionals to develop, deploy, and maintain the EHR. Their roles will require retraining and receiving advanced certifications to become leaders in information lifecycle management rather than leaders in records management.

Where do HIMs work?

HIM Professionals work in a variety of different settings including acute care, primary care, community care, long-term care and health care corporations. They often have dual roles connecting clinical, operational and administrative functions. HIMs oversee the quality of patient information at every aspect of health care delivery. Certified/skilled HIMs ensure health care organizations have the right information when and where it is needed while maintaining high standards of data integrity, confidentiality and security.

HIMs work in a variety of areas including:

  • Health Records/Information Services
  • Admitting /Patient Registration
  • Quality Management
  • Research and Statistics
  • Information Systems
  • Utilization Management /Decision Support
  • Risk Management
  • Government Agencies
  • Educational Institutions
  • Community Health Clinics
  • Law Offices
  • Insurance Companies
  • Health Care/Pharmaceutical Companies
  • Primary Care Agencies
  • Nursing Homes and Long-term Care Facilities