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What is a RHIA?

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  • Written By: K. Hittelman
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2016
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A RHIA, or Registered Health Information Administrator, works with health care providers, patients, payers, and other organizations to collect and analyze comprehensive health care data. By analyzing and managing health care information, including medical records, RHIAs compile necessary information to ensure patient care is handled efficiently, ethically, and legally.

In addition to collecting and analyzing patient data, RHIAs must have an array of specialized skills. RHIAs are typically very comfortable working on computers, preparing health data for accreditation surveys, and coding information for reimbursement and research. Although RHIAs are expected to provide comprehensive health information to lawful participants, they are also required to protect the privacy and security of confidential medical records and patient data. It is therefore necessary for RHIAs to have expertise on ethical standards and legal requirements within the health care industry.

RHIA skills are useful in a variety of positions, including Department Director of Health Information Management (HIM), Data Quality Manager, and Chief Privacy Officer. Many of these positions also require the ability to manage employees. Usually, a RHIA’s job entails interacting with a wide range of departments within an organization.

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RHIAs work in a variety of settings. Those more closely connected with patient care may work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, or private doctors' offices. Job opportunities for RHIAs also exist in non-patient care facilities, including insurance, pharmaceutical, governmental offices. In the US, managed care is a growing field, and as a result job opportunities for RHIAs continue to grow as well.

In the US, RHIAs typically must have a bachelor's degree from a health information management program. This degree must be earned from a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education. After completing this fully accredited program, a certification exam must be passed in order to begin working as a RHIA.

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