Health Information Technology
Frequently Asked Questions
Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)
As a credentialed health information management professional, your certification speaks to your successful completion of a rigorous academic program and dedication to a lifetime of professional growth and continuing education. You have earned a unique credential in the field of managing health information and have proven your competency for a career in health information management.
But not everyone is aware of what goes into acquiring a credential, and more importantly, not everyone realizes what an asset an AHIMA credentialed individual can be. That's why we've developed the questions and answers below. Use them on job interviews, to inform colleagues of what you do and why your credential is a virtual guarantee of professional quality, and to create your own presentations, so you can educate interested parties in just how important your credential is to your career success and that of the HIM industry.
Q: What does the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) do?
A: RHITs are health information technicians who work to ensure the quality of health records and health care data by verifying their completeness, accuracy, and proper entry into computer systems. They use computer applications to assemble and analyze patient data to improve patient care and control healthcare costs. In addition, RHITs may specialize in coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for reimbursement and research or they may supervise coding or other clinical data management functions.
Q: What kind of positions do RHITs hold?
A: In AHIMA's recent membership survey, the majority of RHIT respondents held job titles in one of the following categories: coding/technician or manager/supervisor. With experience, the RHIT credential holds solid potential for advancement to management positions, especially if it is combined with a bachelor's degree. As patient records evolve toward computerization and as more entities such as third-party payers require health data, RHITs benefit from a wide selection of roles in the industry.
Q: Is there a demand for HIM professionals?
A: Health Information Management (HIM) professionals can expect to be in high demand for the next 10 years. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics cites health information technology as one of the top 10 fastest growing occupations in the U.S. and anticipates the demand for HIM professionals to increase by 20% through 2018.
Q: Where do RHITs work?
A: Although most RHITs work in hospitals, you will also find them in a variety of other healthcare settings including office-based physician practices, nursing homes, home health agencies, mental health facilities, and public health agencies and private corporations. In fact employment opportunities exist for RHITs in any organization that uses patient data or health information such as pharmaceutical companies, law and insurance firms, and health product vendors.
Q: Why is having an RHIT on your staff important?
A: The access and quality of health information affects the quality of patient care and effective healthcare management. Accordingly, the RHIT credential demonstrates a broad understanding of health data and its many uses. The credential proves tested data quality and integrity skills. The RHIT certification also demonstrates technical coding expertise in addition to an array of skills needed in today's health information management areas.
Q: What makes certification from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) special? Don't other organizations offer similar certification?
A: AHIMA is currently the only certification body for Health Information Management professionals. At the very least, RHITs must have earned an associate's degree from an accredited health information technology program. AHIMA's standards are stringent. AHIMA has been offering the RHIT credential since 1955.
Why would you accept anything less for your organization? If managing your strategic asset-health information- is your goal, then you need the quality and expertise the RHIT certification signifies.