Working in healthcare administration entails requirements depending on your place of employment. Depending on your responsibilities, you might need no more than a high school diploma, while other places require graduate degrees.
If you wish to become a Registered Health Information Technician, or RHIT, you’ll need to pass a specific exam. As a certified RIHT professional, you’ll stand out among other applicants and be in a better position for employment. You’ll need to take the RHIT exam at a specific location, but fortunately, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a place to earn your RHIT certification.
What Does an RHIT Do Every Day?
When you become an RHIT, you’re taking on responsibilities that include patient privacy and confidentiality. You will be verifying the accuracy and thorough completion of different kinds of patient records and files. You may also need to enter them into computer systems after patients have filled out information on paper.
While using specialized computer applications, you can analyze patient data for the specific purposes of cost control. The RHIT title might sound different from this responsibility, but your job involves much more than just data entry. In many cases, you can specialize in codes for different diagnoses. You’ll become an expert in remembering shortcuts and numbers.
You could also work with patient procedures involved with research or reimbursement. For example, you might be the first person a cancer patient sees before they begin their treatment in a specific hospital branch.
Where Would I Work as an RHIT?
Most of the time, an RHIT will find employment in a hospital. Many different departments, from burn units to pediatrics, need health information experts to accurately track patient records. Hospitals aren’t the only place where RHIT certification is necessary, however. You could find yourself working in a mental health facility, public health agency, or even a private physician practice.
With your RHIT credential, there isn’t any limit to where you might find work. If an opening exists, you might even find a spot in an academic or research-based setting. Pharmaceutical companies and vendors of health products might also have a use for your talents.
How Can I Work on RHIT Certification Before an Exam?
In order to be eligible for certification, potential RHITs need to earn an associate degree. You can find an appropriate degree program at a community college, usually under the title of Health Information Management. When you enroll, be sure to check for accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education, better known as CAHIIM.
If you earned your education outside of the United States, you’ll need to be sure that the foreign association has some kind of relation to the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
In each case, you’ll need to hang on to your documentation supporting the completion of an education program. Your academic qualifications will be reviewed and approved by AHIMA before you go on for certification.
What Is Involved in the RHIT Certification Exam?
If you are currently enrolled in an accredited program to become an RHIT, you can take the certification exam during your final semester. This is considered early and will help you in your job search once you graduate.
You are considered eligible to take the exam if you are in the middle of your last term, or if you have completed all coursework without attending a graduation ceremony. You are also eligible if you have graduated but still need to receive your official transcripts from your institution.
If you intend to take the exam early, you will need to purchase access through the official AHIMA store. Once you are finished completing the application, you can select the option for early testing. You can then upload everything and wait for a test date. It’s important to remember that you should only submit your exam application for early testing. If you do it more than once, it won’t be approved.
After taking the exam, you will receive your official RHIT certification credential when AHIMA has verified your completion of a degree program. The date of the exam is the one you will find on your credential.
Where Can the RHIT Certification Exam Be Taken?
The AHIMA offers a certification on computer exams throughout the country. To make your appointment, you’ll need to schedule a testing date after you have received an official Authorization to Test letter. Without this notification, you won’t be able to attend the testing date. You can receive this letter digitally with any valid email address. Otherwise, you’ll get it in the mail.
Before you pick a date, you need to be sure that all information received by AHIMA matches what you have on your letter. This is what you’ll need to bring to the exam, along with two forms of identification. If you don’t pick a date within four months of registration, you’ll lose your spot, as well as the fee that you paid.
Check the Pearson website to find the testing center nearest to your location. Keep in mind that weather-related events might affect the hours of each center, so be careful if scheduling during a season full of storms. Make sure that you allow yourself plenty of time between registering and the actual test date. Seats fill up very quickly through Pearson, no matter what exam you are taking.
What Jobs Are Available with RHIT Certification?
Upon earning your credentials for RHIT certification, you can pursue several different positions within medical administration.
Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
Much like the certification title, a health information technician is in charge of reviewing patient records for accuracy of data. They organize and maintain everything contained in an office or hospital’s database and registry, while also looking at quality assessment during the outcome of a patient. Special software can be used inside a given practice for insurance reimbursement or data analysis.
Strict attention must be paid to patient confidentiality when working as a health information technician. If any HIPPA laws are violated, it could prevent you from ever obtaining employment in the field. Technicians regularly work with professionals in healthcare, from nursing assistants and orderlies all the way up to doctors who run private practices.
The job duties of a healthcare technician change regularly. Thanks to the evolution of electronics in healthcare records, you could learn more each day as new software and programs are introduced.
There are a few specific types of health information technicians in the field. Medical coders will review diagnoses given to patients to ensure that accurate conditions are entered into records properly. They are the direct line of communication between billing offices and healthcare providers.
In the case of cancer registrars, pathology reports are addressed for accuracy and use by other physicians during ongoing treatment. Cancer registrars will work with patients in remission to ensure follow-up appointments are kept, and if anything changes, schedule new appointments for returning patients.
Health Information Managers
By earning RHIT certification, you are more qualified to run an entire healthcare office. Along with patient care at the administrative level, you will develop goals for your department and seek to meet objectives. Health information managers directly supervise a staff of medical administration, assign tasks, and issue directives.
As a health information manager, you will be responsible for scheduling shifts and delegating responsibility to each employee. You might also be in charge of patient fees and billing, making communication skills a high priority in your line of work.
Managers in health information will keep the security of all patient records that come through their office. One of the most important duties is keeping on top of new laws that govern healthcare settings. They will also be sure that all databases are up to date and patient information stays consistent as time passes.
Becoming a Health Information Professional with RHIT Certification
While many people can work in healthcare administration, it takes a specific type of individual to earn RHIT certification. With this credential, you prove that you are more than just a secretary who can answer phones and schedule appointments. Keeping patient information secure and up-to-date is an important part of the medical and legal process. As a certified RIHT, you prove that you are capable.
Taking the exam will be one of the most rewarding things you can do with your career. The test will be difficult, and earning a passing score requires you to study hard during your degree program. After graduating, you will have two credentials that help to establish you as a professional: a minimum of an associate degree, and your RHIT certification.
Take the opportunity to find out how soon you can get in and schedule your exam. You won’t want to miss out on the last seat and discover that you need to wait several months before filling out job applications. The sooner you find out where you can earn your certification, the sooner you can update your resume with a new place of employment.