By DeVry University
March 6, 2023
5 min read
An RHIT (Registered Health Information Technician) is a health information management professional whose skills are essential to the continued adoption and safe, secure usage of electronic health records (EHRs).
In this article, we’ll discuss the widespread use of EHRs, the requirements for RHIT certification, the qualifications you need to become an RHIT and the projected job growth for this occupation.
What is an RHIT?
EHRs are more than mere digital versions of patients’ medical charts. Their purpose is to make sharing detailed medical information among medical professionals across different healthcare organizations possible. The use of health informatics and EHRs has become widespread, making information available immediately and securely to providers and going beyond standard data collection to deliver a more extensive view of a patient’s care. Patients’ medical histories, treatment plans and medications, immunization dates, allergies, diagnostic images and test results can all be contained in EHRs. As of 2021, 96% of the acute care hospitals and 78% of the office-based physicians in the United States had adopted the use of EHRs.
An RHIT stores and verifies the accuracy and integrity of EHRs. These highly focused healthcare professionals work in a variety of patient care facilities like hospitals, surgery centers, nursing homes and physicians’ offices. They may also work in other settings where healthcare data is stored or analyzed such is in pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies (payers) or government agencies.
RHITs perform a vital non-clinical healthcare job, and while they are not directly involved with the hands-on treatment of patients, frequent communication with the clinicians who do provide those services informs the accuracy and effectiveness of their work. They often specialize in using a system of coding and classifying diagnoses and procedures called ICD-11 (International Classification of Diseases, 11th Revision).
An RHIT should not be confused with an RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator), which is a management role tasked with overseeing departments and budgets, and typically requiring a higher-level academic degree.
RHIT Exam Requirements
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) administers the RHIT certification exam. To be eligible to take the exam, you must successfully complete a Health Information Management program that has earned accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), or graduate from a Health Information Management program approved by a foreign association that has a reciprocity agreement with the AHIMA.
The exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions in areas that include data analytics, revenue cycle management, leadership and compliance.
If you want to pursue RHIT certification, there are specific health information management education requirements that you must meet. As stated above, you will have to complete an associate degree program in Health Information Management that is accredited by CAHIIM before you can take the certification exam. At DeVry, our CAHIIM-accredited online Associate Degree in Health Information Technology features coursework in health services and information systems, document and record information, health insurance and reimbursement, legal and regulatory issues in health information and includes RHIT exam preparation in its coursework.
This 100% online program can help you prepare to pursue careers like:
- Medical Coder
- Medical Biller
- Medical Records and Health Information Technician
- Medical Records Analyst
- Medical Coding Specialist
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggests that health information technologists and medical registrars should also have the following soft skills to perform their duties effectively:
- Analytical skills: This job may involve analyzing and interpreting data, as well as using the findings to spot trends and suggest improvements in healthcare delivery processes.
- Integrity: Professionals in this field are expected to exercise discretion, prioritizing the protection of patients’ health information and protecting patient confidentiality as required by law.
- Attention-to-Detail: Because accuracy is so crucial in this occupation, technicians need to manage clinical data with a high degree of precision.
- Interpersonal skills: Collaboration with other members of medical teams such as physicians, nurses and medical technicians or administrative personnel is routine in this profession and requires the ability to communicate clearly and effectively using verbal or written methods.
- Problem-solving: The ability to identify and resolve problems related to healthcare information is important in this occupation as it can impact the accuracy and correctness of patient data.
RHIT Job Outlook
If you want to prepare to pursue a career in health information management, you may be interested to know the outlook for employment growth in this area is strong. The BLS projects employment of health information technologists and medical registrars to grow 17% on a national level between 2021 and 2031, a rate that is much faster than the average for all occupations.1 However it should be noted that these projections may vary by location, may include earners at all stages of their career and not just entry level, and are not specific to DeVry University students or graduates.
The BLS attributes this significant projected growth to the continuing widespread use and growing volume of EHRs, and the increasing need for health information technologists to analyze this vast amount of data and convert it into meaningful information that healthcare systems can use to improve quality of care and increase efficiencies.
We Can Help You Pursue Your RHIT Goals at DeVry
If you’re thinking about pursuing a career in the growing field of health information management, our online Associate Degree in Health Information Technology can help you develop many of the skills you need. Best of all, you can prepare for the RHIT certification exam at the same time. You’ll gain first-hand experience in a virtual lab and learn from professors with experience in the healthcare industry. Our 100% online courses can help you balance your commitment to education with work, family and other aspects of your busy life.
Classes start every 8 weeks.