|Also Known As|
|Health Information Management Practitioners||Health Information Management Technicians|
|Health Records Techs||Medical Records Techs|
Health information management professionals provide services in all aspects of clinical records management. This includes data collection, coding, use, integrity, access, disclosure, retention and disposal of health information.
They analyze quantitative and qualitative information to help facilitate health care delivery, patient safety and health, and decision making within and across organizations. For example, health statistics are used to provide information about complex decisions ranging from how to improve patient care to how to allocate resources.
Health organizations are currently changing from paper to electronic health records. As a result, new career specializations are emerging in a variety of areas related to health information, including the following:
Health information management professionals should:
Typical employers include:
Other employers include:
Health information management professionals may work full-time or part-time or on a casual basis. They can work in positions that are permanent, temporary, or casual depending on department and facility needs. Schedules may include a combination of day, evening, night, weekend, and holiday shifts, and sometimes on-call duty.
Health information management professionals work with a combination of paper and electronic health records, so they must use a computer and sit for long periods of time. This job can require individuals to do repetitive tasks and motions, like data entry and manually indexing health information.
Employers want to hire people with skills and knowledge related to:
Individuals can gain the necessary skills and knowledge by taking a program accredited by the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) at a post-secondary institution or by taking a distance education program. Individuals with related education and work experience should ask about prior learning recognition.
These programs take two to four years to finish depending on the type selected. After completing education, individuals are qualified to write the national examination to become certified by the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA). To keep their certification, health information management professionals must participate in ongoing professional development for continuing professional education credits.
Employers want to hire people with excellent oral and written communication skills, including report writing and knowledge of medical terminology. Health information management professionals use their communication skills to work with doctors, nurses, allied health care professionals, management, and administrative staff to make sure that patient information is managed properly. The ability to speak and write in multiple languages can be an advantage in Canada’s multicultural environment.
Employers also look for people with strong computer skills including:
Wages are affected by the workers’ level of education, work experience, and job responsibilities, plus the job location, work conditions, and whether the workforce is unionized or not.
Salary information is not available for this occupation at a national level, but averages for low and high wages (before taxes) are available from two provinces:
|Alberta||$26/hour or $54,000/year||$32/hour or $66,560/year|
|Ontario||$20/hour or $41,600/year||$32/hour or $66,560/year|
It is possible to advance to supervisory positions with experience. Advancement to management positions and specializations is possible with additional training and experience.
The skills gained as a health information management professional can be applied in a variety of senior roles, including:
For general career information and job search ideas, refer to the Introductory Page.
More details about health information management professionals and the health industry are available from the following organizations:
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) works with interested users across Canada to improve the health system’s use of electronic health data. It works with the Canada Health Infoway and other organizations to improve patient experiences, support front-line care providers, and build a better health system using knowledge.
Canada Health Infoway has many documents and links which are useful in understanding the health data standards landscape. Infoway works by investing money (provided by the federal government) and working with provinces and territories to improve health care through information technology.
Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) represents approximately 5,000 health information management professionals across Canada and is the certifying body and national association. Together with the Canadian College of Health Information Management (CCHIM), CHIMA sets standards by which health information management education programs are evaluated to make sure students are prepared to meet the national standards for becoming certified professionals. For a listing of schools that have accredited health information management (HIM) programs, click here.
Check out CHIMA’s Workforce Transformation project report that maps the development of the new roles caused by the move to electronic health records. The report describes the clusters of competency profiles and the new role descriptions that were developed with the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) and Alberta Health Services (AHS).
COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association connects a diverse community of talented, important professionals who work passionately to make a difference in advancing health care through information technology. The field of health informatics (HI) is the intersection of clinical, IM/IT, and management practices and is helping to modernize healthcare.
Many health jobs in Canada are with provincial and territorial government health services. Some of the provincial organizations that post job openings or career opportunities are listed below:
Note: These websites tend to change frequently.