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Health Information Management Professional

Health information management professionals collect, record, review and manage health information. They safeguard the integrity, privacy and confidentiality of personal health information, and gather and interpret the data on which decisions affecting health services are made.

  • Avg. Salary $65,984.00
  • Avg. Wage $37.13
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
Also Known As

Coding Specialist, Data Analyst, Health Record Technician, Information Specialist, Medical Technologist, Release of Information Specialist

NOC & Interest Codes
The Health Information Management Professional is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Health Records Technicians
NOC code: 1413.3
METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to classify, code, cross-reference and store health records and other information; and in maintaining indexes for classification systems

innovative

Interest in operating information retrieval systems; and in preparing medical, social and administrative statistics

directive

Interest in responding to requests for health record information

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Health records contain information about patients' medical histories and courses of treatment. For example, they may include physicians' notes, forms for prescribed medications, input from other members of the treatment team or test results. Health information management professionals manage both the records and the information they contain and provide guidance and expertise to other health professionals across different organizations and care settings.

Duties vary from one position to another but, in general, health information management professionals:

  • translate information from paper documents to electronic records
  • convert a patient's diagnostic and intervention information to a standardized format using an international classification system and Canadian coding standards
  • ensure that every patient's record is complete, accurate and secure yet readily accessible for appropriate release
  • identify and perform appropriate data quality checks to ensure accuracy of records and databases
  • safeguard and release patient information under the provisions of Alberta's Health Information Act
  • collect additional information about patients and their hospital stays to generate data about the patient population
  • use computer applications to organize, compile, sort, group, retrieve, analyze and present health data in ways that are useful for planning, research and education. 

Health statistics are used to inform complex decisions ranging from how to improve patient care to how to allocate resources.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Health information management professionals generally work a standard work week. Where health record departments are open longer hours, they may be required to work shifts.

A significant part of a typical day is spent working at a computer. Because mistakes could have a negative effect on patient health planning or health care funding, there is considerable pressure to be accurate as well as fast.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Health information management professionals need the following characteristics:

  • strong self-motivation
  • the ability to multitask
  • the ability to manage multiple priorities and demands
  • attention to detail
  • the ability to maintain a high degree of accuracy

They should enjoy taking a methodical approach to compiling and classifying information, participating in data quality initiatives, operating information retrieval systems and responding to requests for information.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Health information management professionals need skills and knowledge related to:

  • biomedical sciences (anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology)
  • epidemiology
  • information sciences and technology
  • the health care system in Canada
  • legislation and regulations governing privacy, information security and confidentiality
  • standardized classification systems and technologies
  • clinical data integration and management
  • information analysis and presentation
  • ethics and practice.

They may acquire the necessary skills and knowledge by taking a full-time program at a post-secondary school or by taking a distance education program. Graduates of Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) accredited programs are eligible to write a national certification examination. Employers may prefer to hire applicants who have a related degree or require applicants with a diploma to work towards a degree.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

CHA Learning offers a 2-year Health Information Management program online in partnership with Algonquin College. The program starts each year in September and is accredited by the Canadian College of Health Information Management (CCHIM) and recognized by the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA). Students must meet a number of requirements, including completion of grade 12 English, math, and biomedical science.

The Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology offers a 2-year diploma program in Health Information Management. The program may be completed on-campus or via distance education.

Ryerson University in Toronto offers a Bachelor of Health Administration (Health Information Management) program through distance education. Graduates of recognized diploma programs may enter the third year of the program.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Health information management professionals are employed by:

  • hospitals, clinics, community care facilities and mental health facilities
  • Workers Compensation Board offices
  • research facilities
  • government department and privacy commissioners' offices
  • the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Those interested in travel may find employment outside Canada with the World Health Organization or through foreign recruitment agencies.

Health information management professionals are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1252: Health information management Occupations. In Alberta, 92% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook (PDF) in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 8,800 Albertans are employed in the Records management and filing clerks occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 2.0% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 176 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As health information technology specialists form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for health information technology specialists.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Wages for health information management professionals who are members of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta range from $26.18 to $32.18 an hour (2010). For information about current collective agreements in the public and not-for-profit sectors, see the HSAA website.

Health information management professionals are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 1252: Health information management occupations.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Health information management occupations occupational group earned on average from $31.94 to $38.98 an hour. The overall average wage was $37.13 an hour. More recent data is not available. For more information, see the Health information management occupations wage profile.

Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
    • Biology
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Enterprise and Innovation
    • Financial Management
    • Information Processing
    • Management and Marketing
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Clerical and Administrative Support
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 14, 2016

Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) website: www.echima.ca

Health Information Management Association of Alberta (HIMAA) website: www.himaa.ca

Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) website: www.hsaa.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jun 09, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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