Accurate, reliable patient data is critical to health professionals, and the health information management department is the key health center for medical staff, administrators, other health professionals, and the community. In today’s, environment, HIM professionals engage in a variety of roles, from the more traditional HIM directors, to privacy officers, systems analysts, and electronic health record specialists. The health information management professional is a key member of an organization and ensures that patient information is available when it is needed, while maintaining high standards of data integrity, confidentiality, and security. Health information management professionals design, develop, evaluate, and manage health information systems and disease registries in all types of health care facilities, organizations, and agencies. Please visit AHIMA.org for more information on career paths.
Health information management graduates are prepared to serve the health care industry wherever health information is collected, organized, and analyzed, and work in a variety of health care settings such as acute-care hospitals, psychiatric facilities, ambulatory-care facilities, physician office practices, long-term care facilities, mental health agencies, and rehabilitation centers. HIM professionals use their expertise in over 40 different work settings such as hospitals, healthcare technology vendors, consulting firms and insurance companies to name a few. Their ranks are also increasing in consulting, accounting and legal firms, disease registries, payer organizations (e.g. insurance, reimbursement), research and policy agencies, and educational institutions.
Due to the increased presence of technology as a key component of health care delivery, more HIM professionals are finding career opportunities in the information systems environment, where they develop, market, and implement software; ensure that systems comply with standards and regulations, and work in support of quality, privacy, and security in paper-based as well as electronic medical records. The opportunities for graduates continue to be plentiful. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites health information professionals as one of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in the US. On top of strong job prospects, competitive salaries also await HIM graduates. More than half of new HIM graduates with a bachelor’s degree start with salaries in the $40-50,000 range.
In order to meet the data requirements of all facets of the health care delivery system, a broad-based curriculum has been designed for health information management students. The health information manager combines knowledge of health care, health records, information management, and administration to provide quality services that meet the medical, epidemiological, administrative, legal, ethical, regulatory, and institutional requirements of the health care delivery system being served. The graduate must also have an understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, epidemiological research, statistical methods, and legal aspects of health care, as well as knowledge of both state and federal regulations.
Clinical education, beginning in the spring term of the junior year, is scheduled at various health care institutions to provide the student with real experiences in the profession. The final clinical education is a six-week full-time management affiliation at a health care institution within, or, at times, outside the state. Students are required to provide their own transportation to clinical sites, whether they are on campus or located at an off-campus site and are responsible for all expenses during clinical education.
The health information management program is accredited by the Commission on Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). Following satisfactory completion of all course requirements, the graduate will be awarded the degree of Bachelor of Science and students are eligible to sit for the RHIA (http://www.ahima.org/certification/RHIA) credentialing examination administered by the Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM) an affiliate of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) during their last semester of study. For more information, see http://www.shrs.pitt.edu/him/.
Results from the 2015 outcomes assessment reported to CAHIIM in the 2016 Annual Program Report (APAR) indicate:
A 100% employer satisfaction rate
A 100% graduate satisfaction rate
A 93% pass rate National Certification Exam
Students may pursue this program on a part-time basis. A meeting with the appropriate advisor is recommended.
Progression for the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
Provision for transfer of credits may be made for those students who have satisfactorily completed a junior college health information technology program accredited by the Commission on Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). In addition, the HIM department has an articulation agreement with the Health Information Technology Program at the Community College of Allegheny County, enabling qualified graduates of the HIT program to matriculate into the HIM program at the University of Pittsburgh as juniors.
The Pitt Freshman Guarantee
All incoming Pitt freshmen choosing the Pre-Health Information Management major will be granted guaranteed admission for the Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with a concentration in Health Information Management (at regional Pitt campuses, choose corresponding codes).
Mervat Abdelhak, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, Chair
Department of Health Information Management
6051 Forbes Tower
Students are admitted into the health information management program after successful completion of a minimum of 60 credits, including the following prerequisite courses:
- General Biology - 3 Credits
- Communication/Public Speaking - 3 Credits
- Information Science/Computer Science (must include a programming course) - 9 Credits
- General Writing - 6 Credits
- Mathematics* - 2-3 Credits
- General Psychology - 3 Credits
- Statistics* - 3-4 Credits
- Humanities/Social Sciences - 6 Credits
*A combination of 6 credits of math and statistics is required.
Other admission criteria include minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50 (based on 4.00), and minimum of a C- grade in all courses designated as prerequisite (C required for credit transfer from other institutions); volunteer or paid work experience in the field of health information management is recommended.
Pitt Students (including regional campuses)
Complete the SHRS ApplyYourself online application.
Transfer students must apply to the University of Pittsburgh by completing the Office of Admission and Financial Aid’s Transfer Application and selecting Health Information Management as their intended field of study. International transfer students click here.
All applicants must:
- Submit a personal essay-a brief statement discussing why you are interested in the Undergraduate Program in Health Information Management, your professional goals including how and when you became interested in this field of study. You may also include other areas of interest, extra-curricular activities and leadership experiences;
- Submit one letter of recommendation. Recommendation from a college instructor/professor, recent supervisor, or academic advisor preferred;
- Submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended;
- Applications can be submitted when course requirements are in progress.
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.