RHIA Credential

The Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credential is a widely recognized credential for Health Information Management (HIM) leaders. The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) develops and maintains this credential as one of the main focal points for HIM professionals. This credential proves that the candidate understands the concepts of information management in healthcare and can govern health information effectively.

As the healthcare industry continues to be more data-driven, we need RHIAs to understand key concepts of data analysis and health informatics. In fact, there is a heavy emphasis on data in the domains of the RHIA exam. Over 25% of the questions on the exam cover informatics, analytics, and data use. The next largest domain covers information protection and regulatory concepts with a focus on HIPAA privacy and security and records management practices.

Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree from a CAHIIM approved HIM/HIIM program or candidates can be nearing completion of the degree in order to be eligible for the exam. Coursework for this degree covers all of the domains to prepare candidates for obtaining this credential and using the skills in real world experience. These domains are directly related to the semi-annual job analysis surveys conducted on RHIAs in the field in order to address the current needs of the healthcare industry. As you can imagine, the focus has shifted over the years with widespread EHR implementations and the enhanced data analysis skills of HIM professionals.

Many want to know if the RHIA is a coding credential. RHIAs must know how to code and understand reimbursement processes and DRGs but the credentialing process does not require in-depth coding experience. The exam focuses around 12-16% of the questions on revenue management. Having the RHIA definitely proves competency in coding but having additional certification in coding is highly beneficial if you wish to work as a coder.

RHIA credentialed professionals are prepared for leadership roles in HIM or other related healthcare fields due to the course curriculum requirements related to organizational management, leadership, financial accounting, human resources, and data analytics. RHIAs can be found in health IT, revenue cycle management, physician practices, insurance companies, and EHR project management aside from traditional HIM departments.

A recent publication via globalknowledge.com listed “18 credentials worth having” and the RHIA was listed second on the list. This shows the recognition and understanding of the importance of this credential in the workforce. RHIAs have come a long way from being known as Registered Record Librarians or Administrators of the past and the recognition for this credential continues to grow. The most important thing a potential RHIA candidate can do is attend a high quality HIM baccalaureate program that is accredited by CAHIIM and appropriately develop the skills needed for the important roles RHIAs play in the healthcare industry.

Additional information on the RHIA credential is available here.

To read about the RHIT credential, please see my previous post.

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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.

1 Comment

  • Sounds good EXCEPT that there is still no viable path for an IT expert, perhaps from the equally complex Financial IT world, to get into Health IT unless one is lucky enough to stumble into it perhaps through connections. And yes, even if we don’t know HIPAA we do know privacy and security, sharing data between systems and far more.

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