What is the Difference Between Health Information Management and Health Informatics?

At first glance, you may think that careers in health information management and health informatics are likely quite similar. However, while both of these occupations are in the field of healthcare, there are actually several distinct differences that set them apart from each other. Read on to learn what these differences are and to find out if one of these careers may be the perfect choice for you.

Educational Requirements

One of the main differences between health information management and health informatics careers is the education that is required to qualify for a position in each occupation. To become a health information manager, you will need a minimum of a bachelor's degree in health sciences but a master degree can certainly broaden your employment opportunities.

It is also essential to note that many employers require HIM applicants to possess what is known as Registered Health Information Administrator certification. On the other hand, if you choose to begin a career in health informatics, you will need to earn at least a bachelor's degree in information technology with an emphasis in health sciences. Again, a master degree can help boost your chances of employment in this area as well.

Job Responsibilities

Perhaps the biggest difference between health information management and health informatics careers concerns each occupation's job responsibilities. As a health information manager, you will be responsible for various types of data related to the healthcare of patients as well as data necessary for billing and insurance purposes.

In contrast, if you choose to become a health informatics specialist, you will mainly be responsible for improving and designing information technology for use in healthcare. One great way to look at this difference is by remembering that HI experts are responsible for designing and updating the technology that HIM professionals need to carry out their jobs.

Salary Ranges

According to statistics provided by the United States Department of Labor in 2017, yearly salaries for HIM professionals can range anywhere from $82,950 to $107,230, with the median salary being $98,350 per year. As computer systems and network experts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, yearly salaries for HI professionals can range anywhere from $70,020 to $87,950, with the median salary being $81,100 per year.

Common Work Environments

Finally, common work environments of health information managers and health informatics specialists can differ dramatically. HIM professionals are most often found working in such facilities as hospitals, doctors' offices, nursing homes, public health centers, and home healthcare companies. HI professionals, on the other hand, typically work in hospitals, for government agencies, for insurance companies, and for various IT or software development companies.

Related Resource: The 25 Best Associates in Health Information Online Degree Programs for 2018

While you may think that careers in health informatics and health information management are one-in-the-same, they are two distinct careers with many well-defined differences. However, regardless of the differences between health information management and health informatics careers, both of these occupations are great choices for students interested in the field of healthcare.