The field of health information management offers a number of interesting career paths for qualified professionals. Located in a variety of settings, HIM positions are typically tasked with resolving challenges that involve the quality, integrity and safety of protected patient information. It is the perfect field for the professional whose interests lie at the intersection of health care and data.
To obtain and succeed in a management role in this field, however, you need more than knowledge of information management technology applications and understanding of clinical workflow. You also must be able to lead a team of health information professionals in pursuit of organizational objectives.
The development of leadership qualities is one of the many reasons that some professionals choose to pursue an HIM degree.
Qualities developed in an HIM Program
In an HIM program, you will complete coursework that covers a variety of academic competencies. You will also have opportunities to develop the following leadership qualities that may be helpful in your career after graduation:
If you have not had the opportunity to manage others in your current position, earning an HIM degree can provide the opportunity to learn and practice these skills. In your program, you will likely work closely with your classmates, either in-person or online. Taking the lead on group assignments or organizing study sessions will help refine your abilities as a manager, preparing you for an advanced position after graduation.
Because leaders tend to work closely with the professionals they manage, the ability to work well in a team is critical for success. While pursuing an HIM degree, this is another quality that can be developed by working closely with your colleagues. Whether you are in an online or on-campus program, you can grow as a team player by collaborating with your fellow students.
This will also help you to develop a closely-related leadership quality: authenticity.
“We all provide something unique to this world, and we can all smell when someone isn’t being real,” Lewis Howes, bestselling author of The School of Greatness, told Entrepreneur. “The more you focus on genuine connections with people, and look for ways to help them—rather than just focus on what they can do for you—the more likable and personable you become. This isn’t required to be a great leader, but it is to be a respected leader, which can make all the difference in your business.”
Effective leaders are able to cast vision in a way that motivates team members to work toward organizational objectives and practices. Without this trait, you may find that your staff struggles to understand the value of their own tasks and how they play into company-wide goals.
An HIM program will give you a leg up in this area of leadership. By gaining big-picture knowledge of the field of HIM through your coursework, you will be able to better explain how certain practices or assignments can contribute to the overall success of health information strategies. This will make it easier to cast vision with the staff members you supervise.
4. Critical thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to objectively analyze and evaluate an issue and come to a well-informed conclusion. Because great leaders must be able to think strategically, critical thinking is an important skill to develop. When working in HIM, you may be called on to make decisions about resources, information management and other multi-faceted issues that will require a great deal of analysis to ensure that the optimal conclusion is made.
Courses in HIM programs on topics such as data analysis and system analysis will not only increase your knowledge of best practices for these particular domains, but also expand your critical thinking abilities, helping you to become a leader who makes wise decisions in the workplace.
5. Time management
When you work in a leadership position, it may seem as if there are never enough hours in the day to address all the demands on your time. Consequently, it is important to develop time management skills to maximize what you can accomplish within the scheduled workday. Enrolling in an HIM program, particularly if you are also working full- or part-time, will help you to enhance your time management abilities.
This is especially true of an online HIM program in which you will set your own schedule for accomplishing educational objectives, while balancing your academic responsibilities with professional and personal commitments.
Organization is a critical skill in a leadership position. In addition to your own work, you will likely be responsible for supervising the activities of others, which means you will need to put even more effort into staying on top of everything you have on your plate at any given time.
Keeping your assignments, study schedule and other components of your academic endeavors in order during an HIM program will help to improve your overall level of organization, which can translate well to workplace responsibilities.
Finally, in an HIM program you can develop confidence, a quality that is essential in a leader. Through learning more about your chosen field and developing the skills that you need to succeed in the workplace, you will likely find that you have more confidence in your own abilities to make decisions and lead a group. This, in turn, will encourage others to trust your judgment as well.
Your HIM degree
If you are ready to take the next step in your HIM career, consider enrolling in a degree or certification program. Remote learning options, such as the online Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management or Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health Information Management with the University of Illinois at Chicago, give you the opportunity to further your education and develop your leadership abilities while also working full- or part-time in the field.
As data continues to be an important part of the health care field, professionals who are equipped to play a part in obtaining, analyzing, and protecting this information are in high demand. An HIM degree can prepare you to not only enter the health information management profession, but also embark on a path toward a leadership role in this important facet of health care.