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Certifications can be a great way to boost your résumé, showing employers that you have top-notch expertise, abilities, and skills that are recognized by a highly regarded, industry-focused organization. This is especially true in health-based positions, where professional certifications such as the RHIA certification can really help you stand out from the crowd.
The RHIA exam is offered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Bachelor's Degree Programs like WGU’s Bachelor of Science Health Information Management degree prepare you for the exam.
Let’s explore a quick overview of what the RHIA certification is, and why it can be so important to health administrator roles.
What Does RHIA Stand For?
RHIA stands for registered health information administrator. A RHIA manages patient health information, acting as a liaison between patients, care providers, and insurance providers. They may also work with IT professionals and other related industry vendors such as administrators. RHIAs oversee the creation and analysis of patient data while also managing operational units, preparing budgets, collaborating with clinic administration and employees, and more.
RHIAs can work in a variety of medical industry outlets such as hospitals, hospice care facilities, mental health organizations, private practices, and more. They may also work in healthcare-adjacent facilities such as government agencies or pharmaceutical companies. Because of this, RHIAs are expected to have deep knowledge of ethical and legal requirements associated with the healthcare industry and be well versed in the privacy and protection of patient medical records and information.
What is RHIA Certification?
RHIA certification is a highly regarded designation for health information management professionals and may boost career opportunities. The certification is granted by AHIMA as an official recognition of an RHIA’s commitment to protecting patient health information and ensuring its security as it’s shared as needed between related organizations and administrations.
What is on the RHIA Exam?
The RHIA certification exam covers five different content domains. The content domains are:
- Information Governance. This section addresses classification systems, data management, governance of data, secondary sources, and health record documentation and content.
- Compliance with Uses and Disclosures of PHI. The next section reviews data privacy, issues, and procedures related to information release management, health law, and confidentiality.
- Data Analytics and Informatics. Next up, the test explores health information technologies and information management, including planning, information exchange, and strategy. You’ll also be expected to answer questions related to healthcare and consumer statistics, data quality and integrity, research approaches, and analytics.
- Revenue Management. Here, you’ll be tested on issues such as revenue cycles, fraud surveillance, coding management, reimbursement, improving clinical documentation, and regulatory preparation and processes.
- Management and Leadership. The last content module will quiz you on subject matter related to human resources management, training, and development, as well as leadership roles and process improvement. You’ll also need to know about financial, change, and project management, along with work design, corporate strategy, working with enterprise information systems, and more.
Earning the RHIA Certification
Before you apply to take the RHIA certification exam, you’ll need to do one of the following according to AHIMA:
- Complete the baccalaureate-level academic requirements of a health information management (HIM) program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
- Complete the master’s-level academic requirements of an HIM program accredited by CAHIIM
- Complete the academic requirements of an HIM certificate of the degree (post-baccalaureate) program approved by CAHIIM
- Graduate from an HIM program approved by a foreign association with which AHIMA has a reciprocity agreement
- Hold the RHIT certification and meet the proviso conditions approved by the 2017 Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM)
After meeting one of these qualifications, you can apply to take the RHIA certification exam by registering on the AHIMA website. The exam features anywhere from 170 to 220 questions, with scored questions and random pre-test questions that won’t count against your final score. You’ll have up to four hours to complete the test, which is administered via computer. You’ll need a score of 300 to pass.
Health Information Management – B.S.
A program designed for future leaders in HIM....
A program designed for future leaders in HIM.
- Time: 63% of grads earned this degree in 36 months or less.
- Tuition: $3,998 per 6-month term, plus a Health Professions Student Fee of $350.
- Courses: 36 total courses in this program.
Some careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:
- Director of informatics
- HIMS chief
- Information systems auditor
- Outpatient coder
- Health records manager
This CAHIIM-accredited program makes you eligible for the RHIA exam.
Frequently Asked Questions
To become an RHIA, you’ll need to obtain your bachelor’s degree, as it’s considered a management position. By comparison, becoming a registered health information technician—or RHIT—requires only an associate degree, as it’s considered a technical position. The role of an RHIA is more involved in data governance, security, and analysis and requires strong understanding of HIPAA compliance.
The cost of the RHIA exam depends on whether or not you’re a member of AHIMA and if you are, what level of membership you meet. Premiere members will pay $217.55 to take the exam, standard members pay $229, and non-members pay $299.
The RHIA exam consists of 170 to 220 questions, including random pre-test questions that don’t count toward your final score. You’ll have up to four hours to complete the exam.
To pass the RHIA certification exam, you’ll need a score of 300.
Certified RHIA professionals act as a liaison between patients, care providers, and insurance companies. They may also work with IT professionals and other related industry vendors such as administrators. RHIAs can work in a variety of medical industry outlets such as hospitals, hospice care facilities, mental health organizations, private practices, and more. They may also work in healthcare-adjacent facilities such as government agencies or pharmaceutical companies.
Earning your RHIA certification credential can be beneficial to your career, helping you to stand out from the crowd with a respected credential that highlights your expertise. Hiring managers and employers are always looking for employees who go the extra mile and showcase a strong knowledge base in administrative procedures, compliance and legal issues, and data security and management. With an RHIA credential, you can set yourself apart from other health informatics professionals and prove you’re more than capable of handling the rigors of your job.