Health Information Management vs. Health Informatics

This article closely compares health information management with health informatics. Reading through it lets you identify why each of these careers is distinct.

If you’re reading this, you’re likely interested in finding answers about similarities and differences.

Health Informatics vs. Health Information Management

Career paths in the healthcare industry are pretty varied.

Sometimes, one may be confused with the other due to similarities related to the name or other factors. Regarding managing health care data, two career paths quickly come to mind.

These include health information management and health informatics. Now, there are situations where people have misrepresented or mistaken one career path for the other.

  • What is the difference between health information management and health informatics?

To better discuss health informatics and information management, we’ll need to identify critical aspects of comparison.

These include the basic definition of each career path, roles or duties performed, skills possessed, and educational background.

Also vital to comprehensive understanding is information regarding standard job titles. Potential employers and possible transitioning opportunities will also be looked at.

You should have a detailed grasp of these health professions by the end.

i. Basic Definition

Here, we provided a comprehensive definition of what health information management & health informatics are. While both are professional paths within the healthcare industry, they cater to specific needs.

Starting with health information management, this career path deals with evaluating and safeguarding digital and traditional medical information.

Such information is vital for providing high-quality patient care.

Health informatics, on the other hand, is an interdisciplinary field that combines data science, information technology, and healthcare principles.

By using these components, health informatics helps improve human health and healthcare delivery services.

ii. Roles or Duties Performed

These are pretty distinct regarding the roles or duties of either of these professions. Health information management professionals have specific functions for patient safety.

These include ensuring patient data is protected and secure and helping to facilitate clinical and health research, leading to improved healthcare quality.

Other roles include improving public health activities while facilitating early detection and rapid response to public health threats.

Health information management professionals also help improve healthcare quality by reducing errors and health disparities.

Reducing healthcare costs due to medical errors, inefficiency, duplicative care, and incomplete information are among the roles performed.

Health informatics specialists, however, have their own unique set of responsibilities.

These include providing technical support while optimizing network security and ensuring healthcare information compliance with management regulations.

Other critical roles performed by health informatics experts include data analysis & interpretation to identify areas needing improvement.

They also help interview healthcare providers & patients while also observing healthcare service delivery procedures.

iii. Skills Possessed

Specific skill sets are necessary for health information management and health informatics professionals.

Most of these similar skills include communication and teamwork, attention to detail, analytical skills, leadership, and technical skills.

Health information management and health informatics professionals also require problem-solving skills.

iv. Educational Background

You must take some HIM certifications to become a health information management expert.

You can complete a Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accredited associate degree.

This takes two years to complete.

The other option includes completing a CAHIIM-accredited bachelor’s degree that takes 2 to 4 years.

Thirdly, earning an American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) certification is necessary to become a health information management professional.

Next, you’ll need to gain professional experience, which can be followed by further broadening your horizons by acquiring a master’s degree.

You’ll need a degree program to qualify as a health informatics technician. Degree levels include associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.

Courses of study typically include medical coding, medical terminology, community-based health information, and medical informatics.

v. Job Titles

Here, we look at the typical job tiles held by health information management and health informatics professionals.

For health information management professionals, standard titles include medical records manager, patient information coordinator, billing coder, and clinical coding specialist.

Other job titles include records technician specialist, insurance claims analyst and health information management director. Others have privacy officers/managers and compliance officers.

For health informatics professionals, standard job titles include health informatics consultant, clinical analyst, health care IT project manager, informatics nurse, and health data analyst.

Others include nursing informatics specialists, directors of clinical informatics, clinical informatics data analysts, etc.

vi. Potential Employers

Another aspect you might be interested in is who your potential employers are likely to be.

For health information management professionals, working in various healthcare settings is standard. These include private practices, hospitals, clinics, and nursing homes.

Other likely employers include HMOs, pharmacies, health insurance organizations, medical grounds, policy organizations, and long-term care units.

Other potential employers include research facilities and home healthcare agencies.

For health informatics professionals, potential employers include hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, HMOs, medical groups, and medical consulting organizations.

Others include medical research labs, health information technology suppliers, and health insurance organizations.

vii. Possible Transitioning Opportunities

Sometimes, professionals in one specialization desire to transition to other specialties or career paths. The same applies here.

There are educational opportunities for interested persons to transition to the other specialization.

For example, a health information management specialist may transition to health informatics. It’s entirely up to you to determine what you want.

To proceed, you’ll need to research how to go about such transitioning.

Health Information Management or Health Informatics – Make a Choice

Having made vital comparisons between health information management and health informatics, you can decide what career path to take based on the information provided.

One thing that’s never in doubt is the degree of potential in both fields. You only need to pick what you find most interesting.

Choosing a preferred career path between health information management and health informatics doesn’t have to make you sweat.

Here, we compared health information management vs. health information technology.

The details covered above highlight critical areas of similarities and differences.

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