RHIT Specialty Tracks
THE HEALTHCARE MARKET has steadily moved away from a need for new graduates with a “generalist” education. Introducing a specialization approach to the associate degree program, leading to an “RHIT+” model, would support this new reality.
Students would take fundamental courses in year 1, then select a specialty track in year 2. The specialty tracks would support
the ability to acquire a second credential, in topics such as tumor registry, coding, privacy and security, and the EHR. Programs
would have the flexibility to select the specialty tracks they offer, as well as maintain an “RHIT generalist” program.
YEAR 1: CORE CONTENT
YEAR 2: CORE CONTENT
Tumor Registry (CTR)
Privacy and Security
Part I: RHIT credential
Part II: RHIT specialist (CTR)
The goal of organizations will be to access and use the right information at the right time so the right decisions are made at the
right level. HIM professionals are the workforce members most
suited to address this need. They have deep understanding of
information management, coding, data integrity, and information workflow.
The steady stream of change in healthcare and the rapid shift
of paradigms challenge and expand the traditional HIM role
as the medical record custodian and keeper of clinical information. This necessitates a transformation in the HIM professional. The medical record will cease to be a tangible product
or tool as it becomes electronic. Information accuracy and content will continue to be critical; however, clinical information
will become intellectual property, organizational capital, and
competitive intelligence. Payers, providers, researchers, lawyers, and regulators will require credible information to create
knowledge that provides sustainable competitive advantages
for their organizations.
As healthcare organizations increasingly rely on information
converted to knowledge, the knowledge base of an HIM professional educated in a bachelor’s program must expand to include
knowledge management. This expertise can be gained through
a master’s degree in knowledge management.
The knowledge management curriculum may consist of a mix
of knowledge management courses with practical application to
health information management and health informatics courses and business and health administration courses.
The outcome would lead to jobs that blend cultural, business,
and technical responsibilities; focus on improving productivity,
profitability, and customer value; drive the adoption of knowledge; and report to the organization’s CEO with the ultimate
goal of maximizing the creation, discovery, and dissemination
Are We Ready to Change?
Findings from core model work identified several near-future
and future roles and careers for health information managers.
The ability of HIM professionals to successfully meet the new
challenges will directly depend on how the profession’s aca-
demic and educational institutions change to meet these new
challenges. Some questions the HIM profession must begin to
ask itself include, Are we willing to:
x Let go of the past and accept a new paradigm of agility and
x Restructure our educational offerings to meet market de-
x Change the way we think about ourselves and adopt a new
mindset of leadership in the healthcare environment?
The answers to these questions will directly determine the future of the HIM profession within the new healthcare environment. ¢
Bonnie S. Cassidy is vice president of HIM product management at
QuadraMed. Valerie J.M. Watzlaf is an associate professor in the HIM department at the University of Pittsburgh. Ellen Shakespeare Karl is program
coordinator at Raritan Valley Community College in North Branch, NJ.
Rebecca B. Reynolds is chair and associate professor of health informatics
and information management at the University of Tennessee Health Science
Center. Leah Grebner is director of the health information technology department at Midstate College in Peoria, IL. Xiaoming Zeng is chair and associate
professor of the department of health services and information management
at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Vanda Crossley is assistant national dean of the College of Health Sciences at DeVry University, based out
of Downers Grove, IL. Cindy Zak is director of health information management at Milford Hospital in Milford, CT. Cindy Glewwe is faculty manager
for the school of allied health at Rasmussen College. Leslie Gordon is assistant
professor and HIM program director at the University of Alaska Southeast in
Sitka, AK. Samir Chatterjee is Samir Chatterjee is a professor in the school of
information systems and technology at Claremont Graduate University, CA.
Christine Staropoli is HIM program director at Gwynedd-Mercy College. Patt
Peterson is director of education and workforce at AHIMA. William J. Rudman ( email@example.com) is vice president of education and workforce