What’s the Value of the RHIT Credential?

I often get asked about the different HIM credentials available and what benefits each one has to offer. There are quite a few HIM credentials to choose from and it can be somewhat confusing to someone who is evaluating his or her future as an HIM professional. Some credentials have formal education requirements while others do not therefore eligibility requirements must be a key part of the decision making process. There are many benefits to each credential and depending on the position, some require a candidate have a particular credential.

Since there are many credentials available to HIM professionals, I will make this a series of different blog posts to address the benefits of each.

The first credential I will discuss is the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). For those who are unfamiliar with this credential, it is the associate’s level certification for HIM professionals (and for starters, it should be pronounced R-H-I-T not “ritt”- yes, I have heard that more than once!). This credential is created and maintained by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). More information can be found here.

In order to be eligible to sit for the RHIT exam, one must graduate  from a CAHIIM accredited associate’s degree program. Having the RHIT credential shows that the individual has achieved proficiency in HIM through courses including medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical coding, data analysis, HIPAA privacy and security, and the technical workflow components of electronic medical records.

The RHIT credential is ideal for HIM professionals working as technicians applying HIM workflows and data and information concepts in healthcare organizations. HIM professionals with the RHIT credential are often ideal candidates for roles such as:

  • EMR implementation and workflow specialists
  • Quality data abstractors
  • Data analysts
  • Cancer or trauma registrar positions
  • Coding and/or billing (hospital and physician office based)
  • HIM chart analysts (chart completion and deficiency tracking)
  • HIM department management

These and other emerging roles do not necessarily have to be within a traditional HIM department. As healthcare continues to evolve rapidly, RHIT competencies are updated and realigned with the changing needs of healthcare organizations. 

The RHIT credential is becoming more and more recognized by healthcare organizations due to the thorough accreditation process and skills possessed by those that are credentialed. HIM departments and physician offices are a great fit for these RHIT professionals but the educational background provides a foundation for HIM professionals to apply their expertise in many different healthcare settings.

The RHIT credential is desirable because it covers the variety of tasks associated with health data analytics, EMR workflow, and informatics. RHIT professionals are certified to be proficient in these areas with a foundation in critical healthcare operations like HIPAA privacy and security and revenue cycle management.  I have seen many job postings requiring RHIT or other HIM credentials. In some cases depending on the position, experience requirements may be substituted for credentials and education.

For more information, I recommend searching the CAHIIM accredited education programs and reviewing the AHIMA RHIT credential eligibility requirements.

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About the author

Erin Head

Erin Head

Erin Head is the Director of Health Information Management (HIM) and Quality for an acute care hospital in Titusville, FL. She is a renowned speaker on a variety of healthcare and social media topics and currently serves as CCHIIM Commissioner for AHIMA. She is heavily involved in many HIM and HIT initiatives such as information governance, health data analytics, and ICD-10 advocacy. She is active on social media on Twitter @ErinHead_HIM and LinkedIn. Subscribe to Erin's latest HIM Scene posts here.

2 Comments

  • IMHO, it’s too bad the Federal HealthIT program didn’t prepare candidates for such a credential. Instead, it prepare people for nothing.

  • Are you referring to the HITPRO/CHTS credentials? I’ll write on those another time. It definitely would have been more beneficial to use some of the grant money toward marketing and enhancing the RHIT and RHIA programs as they are very robust.

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