October 7, 2015

The Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) Exam

The privacy and safeguarding of information regarding the health care of patients has become an increasingly important topic, a “hot button,” in recent years. Extensive federal legislation was passed in the mid 1990s in an effort to keep the health care information of patients as private as humanly possible. As such, the people in charge of keeping this information private have an extremely important role in the health care industry.

The role of the registered health information administrator (RHIA) can include, but is not limited to:

  • Managing patient health information and medical records
  • Administering computer information systems
  • Collecting and analyzing patient data
  • Using classification systems and medical terminologies
  • Because the RHIA is a crucial link between medical professionals, health insurance companies, and patients, it is vitally important that the RHIA be thoroughly knowledgeable in medical, administrative, ethical, and legal requirements as well as the standards related to the delivery of health care and the privacy of patient information that is protected by federal privacy laws.
  • Managing people
  • Managing operational units
  • Participating in administrative committees
  • Preparing budgets
  • Interacting with any and all levels of an organization that employ patient data in decision making and everyday operations. This typically includes clinical, financial, administrative, and information systems departments.

Employment opportunities for RHIAs exist all throughout the health care industry. An RHIA can gain work in care delivery organizations such as hospitals, multiple specialty clinics, and doctor’s offices, long term care facilities, mental health centers, and many other settings where patients receive care. RHIAs have also seen significant growth in employment opportunities in non-patient care settings in recent years. An RHIA can now realistically hope to pursue a career with managed care facilities, insurance companies, software vendors, consulting services, government agencies, educational institutions, and pharmaceutical companies, just to name a few.

If you pass an RHIA certification exam, you can become a certified RHIA with the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). While it is not easy to obtain this certification, it will only benefit your career if you are serious about becoming a health information management professional. Advantages to obtaining RHIA certification include:

Certified RHIAs typically earn a higher wage or salary than those who do not have the RHIA certification. Who would not want to be paid more money for doing the same job? Who could not use more money?

Obtaining RHIA certification will almost certainly make more opportunities available to you for career advancement.

It is no secret that we are in a very tough job market right now and have been for some time. The unemployment rate for the United States in general continues to hover at around nine per cent. Depending on the state you live in, the unemployment rate you are facing in the area where you hope to find work could be as high as fourteen or fifteen per cent. Keep in mind that the reported unemployment rate only counts totally unemployed people who are collecting unemployment and presumably looking for work. It does not include people whose unemployment benefits have run out (these people may still be looking for work or they may have given up trying to find work entirely) or the “underemployed,” people currently working part time to get by that would prefer to work full time. When you take these populations into account, the true unemployment rate in your area could be as high as twenty-five per cent! When facing these numbers, you owe it to yourself to gain every advantage possible to obtain and keep gainful employment. RHIA certification will increase your job choices and mobility. If an employer faces tough times, you may be more likely to be transferred to another department or location rather than get a pink slip.

The Increasingly Important Role Of The Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT)

Virtually everyone in the United States today is affected by the rising cost of health care. Whether you have a chronic health condition that requires frequent monitoring by physicians, you just visit a doctor once a year for an annual checkup, or you just need an occasional over the counter medicine to get a common cold out of your system now and then, the cost of providing health care affects you. The registered health information technician (RHIT) provides an important role in an effort to keep costs down as much as possible. The role and responsibilities of the RHIT usually include, but are not limited to:

Verifying the completeness, accuracy and proper entry of medical records into computer systems.

Using computer applications to assist in assembling and analyzing patient data for the equally important dual purposes of improving patient care and controlling costs.

Very often, RHITs spend a great deal of time coding diagnoses and procedures in patient records for the purposes of reimbursement and research. Another frequent hat for the RHIT to wear is that of cancer registrar. RHITs are often responsible for compiling and maintaining data on cancer patients in particular.

With positive work experience to back it up, the RHIT certification holds a lot of potential for eventual promotion into management positions, particularly when paired up with a bachelor’s degree.

Most RHIT employment opportunities can be found in hospitals; however, it is also common for an RHIT to work in other health care settings, such as a doctor’s office, a nursing home, a home health agency, a mental health facility, or a public health agency. Potential job prospects do not end there, however. It is possible for an RHIT to find employment in any organization that regularly uses patient data or health information, such as pharmaceutical drug companies, law firms, insurance companies, or health product vendors.

If you are serious about assuming the role of an RHIT as a career, you would do well in considering the possibility of obtaining certification as an RHIT by passing the RHIT certification exam offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). While it will require considerable effort and preparation on your part to take and pass this exam in the short hand, on the long hand, the benefits to be had, on both a personal and a professional level, are many. Potential advantages to obtaining RHIT certification frequently include:

The possibility of simultaneously reaching your short term job goals and positioning yourself for success in your long term career
Providing a foundation of both broad and deep understanding of the role of the RHIT in the overall health care industry
Being permanently associated with AHIMA’s strong and long standing reputation of integrity and excellence.

Earning an RHIT certification could expand your professional network significantly. Once certified, you will have access to a prestigious community of peers in the health information management field that can provide ongoing support for your career growth and advancement.

Accredited Institutions For RHIA Certification (All States) And RHIT Certification (Alabama-California)

The main prerequisite for taking the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) or Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification exam is the completion of a bachelor’s degree program (for the RHIA certification exam) or an associate degree program (for the RHIT certification exam) that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). For your reference, a list of all such accredited programs in the United States, listed alphabetically by state, begins below. It will be continued in the next two articles. The city or town the university is located in is in parentheses:

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  • Alabama
    Alabama State University (Montgomery)
    University of Alabama at Birmingham (Birmingham)
  • Arkansas
    Arkansas Tech University (Russellville)
  • California
    Loma Linda University (Loma Linda)
  • Colorado
    Regis University (Denver)
  • Florida
    Florida A&M University (Tallahassee)
    University of Central Florida (Orlando)
  • Georgia
    Georgia Health Sciences University (formerly the Medical College of Georgia) (Augusta)
    Macon State College (Macon)
  • Illinois
    Chicago State University (Chicago)
    DeVry University – online program (Downers Grove)
    Illinois State University (Normal)
    University of Illinois at Chicago (Chicago)
  • Indiana
    Indiana University School of Informatics (Indianapolis)
  • Kansas
    University of Kansas Medical Center (Kansas City)
  • Kentucky
    Eastern Kentucky University (Richmond)
  • Louisiana
    Louisiana Tech University (Ruston)
    University of Louisiana – Lafayette (Lafayette)
  • Maryland
    Coppin State University (Baltimore)
  • Michigan
    Davenport University – Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids)
    Davenport University – online program (Grand Rapids)
    Davenport University – Livonia Campus (Livonia)
    Davenport University – Saginaw (Saginaw)
    Ferris State University (Big Rapids)
  • Minnesota
    College of St. Scholastica (Duluth)
  • Mississippi
    University of Mississippi Medical Center (Jackson)
  • Missouri
    Saint Louis University (St. Louis)
    Stephens College (Columbia)
  • Nebraska
    Clarkson College (Omaha)
  • New Jersey
    University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (Newark)
  • New York
    Long Island University (Brookville)
    SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica (Utica)
  • North Carolina
    East Carolina University (Greenville)
    Western Carolina University (Cullowhee)
  • Ohio
    Ohio State University (Columbus)
    University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati)
    University of Toledo (Toledo)
  • Oklahoma
    East Central University (Ada)
    Southwestern Oklahoma State University (Weatherford)
  • Oregon
    Oregon Health and Science University (certificate track) (Portland)
  • Pennsylvania
    Gwynedd Mercy College (Gwynedd Valley)
    Temple University (Philadelphia)
    University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh)
  • South Carolina
    University of South Carolina Upstate (Spartanburg)
  • South Dakota
    Dakota State University (Madison)
  • Tennessee
    Tennessee State University (Nashville)
    University of Tennessee Health Science Center (Memphis)
  • Texas
    Texas Southern University (Houston)
    Texas State University – San Marcos (San Marcos)
  • Utah
    Weber State University (Ogden)
    Western Governors University (Salt Lake City)
  • Washington
    University of Washington (Seattle)
  • Wisconsin
    Herzing University – online program (Menomonee Falls)
  • Puerto Rico
    University of Puerto Rico (San Juan)
  • Alabama
    Bishop State Community College (Mobile)
    Wallace State Community College (Hanceville)
  • Alaska
    University of Alaska Southeast (Sitka)
  • Arizona
    Central Arizona College (Apache Junction)
    Phoenix College (Phoenix)
  • Arkansas
    National Park Community College at Hot Springs (Hot Springs)
    University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (Little Rock)
  • California
    Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (Los Angeles)
    City College of San Francisco (San Francisco)
    Cosumnes River College (Sacramento)
    Cypress College (Cypress)
    DeVry University – Pomona (Satellite Campuses, Long Beach, and Sherman Oaks) (Pomona)
    East Los Angeles College (Monterey Park)
    Fresno City College (Fresno)
    ITT Technical Institute – Orange (Orange)
    ITT Technical Institute – San Bernardino (San Bernardino)
    ITT Technical Institute – San Dimas (San Dimas)
    ITT Technical Institute – Sylmar (Sylmar)
    San Diego Mesa College (San Diego)
    Santa Barbara City College (Santa Barbara)

Accredited Institutions For RHIT Certification (Colorado-Nevada)

    • Colorado
      Arapahoe Community College (Littleton)
    • Connecticut
      Lincoln College of New England – Southington (Southington)
    • Florida
      Broward College (Coconut Creek)
      Central Florida Community College (Ocala)
      Daytona State College (Daytona Beach)
      Florida State College (Jacksonville)
      Hodges University (Fort Myers)
      Indian River State College (Fort Pierce)
      ITT Technical Institute – Fort Lauderdale (Fort Lauderdale)
      ITT Technical Institute – Lake Mary (Lake Mary)
      ITT Technical Institute – Miami (Miami)
      Lake Sumter Community College (Leesburg)
      Miami Dade College (Miami)
      Pensacola State College (Pensacola)
      Polk State College (Winter Haven)
      Saint Petersburg College (St. Petersburg)
      Santa Fe Community College (Gainesville)
      St. Johns River State College (St. Augustine)
    • Georgia
      Atlanta Technical College (Atlanta)
      Columbus Technical College (Columbus)
      Darton College (Albany)
      DeVry University – Atlanta (Satellite Campus, Alpharetta) (Decatur)
      Georgia Northwestern Technical College – Walker County Campus (Rock Spring)
      Macon State College (Macon)
      Ogeechee Technical College (Statesboro)
      Southern Crescent Technical College (Griffin)
    • Hawaii
      Heald College – Honolulu (Honolulu)
    • Idaho
      Boise State University (Boise)
      Idaho State University (Pocatello)
      ITT Technical Institute – Boise (Boise)
    • Illinois
      College of DuPage (Glen Ellyn)
      College of Lake County (Grayslake)
      Danville Area Community College (Danville)
      DeVry University – Chicago Campus (Chicago)
      DeVry University – Online Campus (Downers Grove)
      Joliet Junior College (Joliet)
      Midstate College (Peoria)
      Moraine Valley Community College (Palos Hills)
      Northwestern College (Chicago)
      Oakton Community College (Des Plaines)
      Rasmussen College – Rockford Campus (Rockford)
      Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market (Herrin)
      Southwestern Illinois College (Belleville)
    • Indiana
      Indiana University Northwest (Gary)
      ITT Technical Institute – Indianapolis (Indianapolis)
      Ivy Tech Community College – Bloomington (Bloomington)
      Ivy Tech Community College – Lawrence Campus (Indianapolis)
      National College – Indianapolis (Indianapolis)
      Vincennes University (Vincennes)
    • Iowa
      Indian Hills Community College (Ottumwa)
      Kirkwood Community College (Cedar Rapids)
      Northeast Iowa Community College (Calmar)
      Northwest Iowa Community College (Sheldon)
      Scott Community College (Bettendorf)
    • Kansas
      Hutchinson Community College (Hutchinson)
      Neosho County Community College (Chanute)
      Washburn University (Topeka)
    • Kentucky
      Jefferson Community and Technical College (Louisville)
      National College – Louisville (Louisville)
      Western Kentucky University (Bowling Green)
    • Louisiana
      Delgado Community College (New Orleans)
      Louisiana Tech University (Ruston)
      Southern University at Shreveport (Shreveport)
    • Maine
      Kennebec Valley Community College (Fairfield)
    • Maryland
      Baltimore City Community College (Baltimore)
      Community College of Baltimore County (Baltimore)
      Kaplan University – Hagerstown Campus (Hagerstown)
      Montgomery College (Takoma Park)
      Prince George’s Community College (Largo)
    • Massachusetts
      Bristol Community College (Fall River)
      Caritas Laboure College (Dorchester)
      Fisher College (North Attleboro)
    • Michigan
      Baker College of Allen Park (Allen Park)
      Baker College System (Flint)
      Davenport University – Livonia Campus (Livonia)
      Ferris State University (Big Rapids)
      Macomb Community College – Center Campus (Clinton Township)
      Mid Michigan Community College (Harrison)
      Schoolcraft College (Garden City)
      Southwestern Michigan College (Dowagiac)
    • Minnesota
      Anoka Technical College (Anoka)
      Minnesota State Community and Technical College (Moorhead)
      Rasmussen College (Eagan, Bloomington, Online, Lake Elmo, Mankato, St. Cloud) (Bloomington)
      Rasmussen College – Brooklyn Park Campus (Brooklyn Park)
      Ridgewater College (Wilmar)
      Rochester Community and Technical College (Rochester)
      Saint Paul College (Saint Paul)
      St. Catherine University (Minneapolis)
      St. Cloud Community and Technical College (St. Cloud)
    • Mississippi
      Hinds Community College (Jackson)
      Itawamba Community College (Tupelo)
      Meridian Community College (Meridian)
    • Missouri
      Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley (Kansas City)
      Missouri Western State University (St. Joseph)
      Ozarks Technical Community College (Springfield)
      St. Charles Community College (Cottleville)
    • Montana
      Montana State University College of Technology (Great Falls)
    • Nebraska
      Central Community College (Hastings)
      Clarkson College (Omaha)
      Western Nebraska Community College (Scottsbluff)
    • Nevada
      College of Southern Nevada (Las Vegas)

Accredited Institutions For Rhit Certification (New Jersey-Wyoming, Including Puerto Rico)

  • Accredited Institutions For Rhit Certification (New Jersey-Wyoming, Including Puerto RicoNew Jersey
    Burlington County College (Pemberton)
    Camden County College (Camden)
    DeVry University – North Brunswick Campus (North Brunswick)
    Passaic County Community College (Paterson)
    Raritan Valley Community College (Somerville)
  • New Mexico
    Central New Mexico Community College (Albuquerque)
    San Juan College (Farmington)
    University of New Mexico – Gallup (Gallup)
  • New York
    Alfred State College – SUNY (Alfred)
    Borough of Manhattan Community College (New York)
    Broome Community College (Binghamton)
    Erie Community College – North Campus (Williamsville)
    Mohawk Valley Community College (Utica)
    Monroe Community College (Rochester)
    Onondaga Community College (Syracuse)
    Suffolk County Community College (Brentwood)
    Trocaire College (Buffalo)
  • North Carolina
    Brunswick Community College (Supply)
    Catawba Valley Community College (Hickory)
    Central Piedmont Community College (Charlotte)
    Davidson County Community College (Lexington)
    Edgecombe Community College (Tarboro)
    McDowell Technical Community College (Marion)
    Pitt Community College (Greenville)
    Southwestern Community College (Sylva)
  • North Dakota
    North Dakota State College of Science (Wahpeton)
    United Tribes Technical College (Bismarck)
  • Ohio
    Bowling Green State University – Firelands (Huron)
    Cincinnati State Technical Community College (Cincinnati)
    Columbus State Community College (Columbus)
    Cuyahoga Community College (Cleveland)
    DeVry University – Columbus (Columbus)
    Hocking College (Nelsonville)
    Lakeland Community College (Kirkland)
    Mercy College of Northwest Ohio (Toledo)
    National College – Dayton (Kettering)
    Owens Community College (Toledo)
    Sinclair Community College (Dayton)
    Stark State College of Technology (North Canton)
    Terra Community College (Fremont)
    Zane State College (Zanesville)
  • Oklahoma
    Rose State College (Midwest City)
    Tulsa Community College (Tulsa)
  • Oregon
    Central Oregon Community College (Bend)
    Portland Community College (Portland)
  • Pennsylvania
    Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh)
    DeVry University – Philadelphia Campus (Fort Washington)
    Gwynedd Mercy College (Gwynedd Valley)
    Lehigh Carbon Community College (Schnecksville)
    Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport)
    South Hills School of Business and Technology – State College (State College)
  • South Carolina
    Greenville Technical College (Greenville)
    Midlands Technical College (Columbia)
  • South Dakota
    Dakota State University (Madison)
  • Tennessee
    Chattanooga State Community College (Chattanooga)
    Dyersburg State Community College (Dyersburg)
    National College – Madison (Madison)
    National College – Memphis (Memphis)
    Roane State Community College (Harriman)
    Walters State Community College (Morristown)
  • Texas
    College of the Mainland (Texas City)
    Collin County Community College (McKinney)
    Del Mar College (Corpus Christi)
    DeVry University – Dallas (Irving)
    DeVry University – Houston (Houston)
    El Paso Community College (El Paso)
    Houston Community College System (Houston)
    Howard College (San Angelo)
    Lamar Institute of Technology (Beaumont)
    Lee College (Baytown)
    Lone Star College – North Harris (Houston)
    McLennan Community College (Waco)
    Midland College (Midland)
    Panola College (Carthage)
    Saint Philip’s College (San Antonio)
    San Jacinto College North (Houston)
    South Texas College (McAllen)
    Tarrant County College – NE Campus (Hurst)
    Texas State Technical College – Abilene (Abilene)
    Texas State Technical College at Harlingen (Harlingen)
    Tyler Junior College (Tyler)
    Vernon College (Wichita Falls)
    Volunteer State Community College (Gallatin)
    Wharton County Junior College (Wharton)
  • Utah
    Weber State University (Ogden)
  • Virginia
    Northern Virginia Community College (Springfield)
    Tidewater Community College (Virginia Beach)
  • Washington
    Shoreline Community College – Online Program (Seattle)
    Spokane Community College (Spokane)
    Tacoma Community College (Tacoma)
  • West Virginia
    Mountwest Community and Technical College (Huntington)
    Pierpont Community and Technical College (Fairmont)
    West Virginia Northern Community College (Wheeling)
  • Wisconsin
    Chippewa Valley Technical College (Eau Claire)
    Gateway Technical College (Racine)
    Mid State Technical College (Marshfield)
    Moraine Park Technical College (West Bend)
    Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (Green Bay)
    Rasmussen College – Green Bay (Green Bay)
    Waukesha County Technical College (Pewaukee)
    Western Wisconsin Technical College (LaCrosse)
  • Puerto Rico
    Huertas Junior College (Caguas)