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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Medical Records

Majors Overview March 27, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in medical records and their education requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education and certification choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Medical Records

Students enrolled in medical records bachelor’s degree programs, referred to as degrees in health information administration or management, are trained in the management of electronic medical record systems. The coursework of some programs includes health informatics. These degrees are available through many schools on weekend, evening, or online formats.

Those who complete bachelor’s programs in health information management become fluent in ensuring compliance with federal and state laws and improving the quality of the data entered. They may also learn about analyzing clinical data in order to evaluate the efficiency and appropriateness of services given, make mandatory reports, manage diseases, and support clinical trials.

They may perform some duties of health information technicians; for instance, they may enter health data into electronic or paper records, analyze data aimed at controlling costs and improving care, or handle coding in order to aid reimbursement.

Computer applications, physiology, math, and statistics are among the courses usually included in these four-year programs. Students learn about health management of health and clinical data, care evaluation, and classification systems. Students enrolled in most programs are required to obtain experience via clinical practice at a medical facility.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria usually require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma. In some schools, students are required to complete college-level courses in physiology, anatomy, math, and statistics, in addition to an introduction to computer applications and management. Many programs include these as part of coursework rather than as prerequisites.

Coursework

Practicum hours are required to be completed in local medical facilities by students enrolled in most programs. Core coursework may commonly include topic areas such as:

•Improving performance
•Evaluation of health care
•Concepts of disease for management
•Managing health data
•Classification systems
•Analyzing health information systems
•Abstracting health statistics
•Managing clinical data
•Health informatics
•Finance and productivity

Career Choices

Coursework in a health information management program covers information from numerous disciplines, including information technology, law, medicine, management, and finance. Graduates may thus seek entry-level jobs in various settings, including:

•Educational institutions
•Private consulting
•Accounting businesses
•Hospitals and clinics
•Law firms

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

While certification is not compulsory, volunteering for professional certification from a certifying organization such as the American Health Information Management Association will enhance income earning potential. AHIMA offers the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential, which requires re-validation every two years. There are various ways to complete the 30 continuing education units (CEUs) to re-certify; for instance, candidates can attend seminars or write items for AHIMA’s certification exams.

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