Technology is an integral part of the health information management (HIM) discipline. Recently, several positions were classified as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) positions according to O*Net Online. This is important because STEM positions tend to have higher salaries; experience exponential growth and demand; and provide higher satisfaction.
In 2019, the AHIMA Graduate Resource Alliance (GRA) workforce reviewed the health information curriculum to determine how health information management could be classified as STEM positions. The workgroup did the following:
- “Compiled a listing of the STEM-related job skills and responsibilities for HIM professionals performing data analysis tasks (using AHIMA’s Health Data Analysis Toolkit
- Compiled a listing of the STEM-related competency tasks for AHIMA’s CHPS credential (using the CHPS Exam Preparation guide), and
- Compiled a listing of the STEM-related competency tasks for AHIMA's CHDA credential (using the CHDA Exam Preparation guide.”1
The following positions have been classified as STEM positions and are highlighted in the AHIMA Career Map. Detailed information is also available on the O*Net website. O*Net is the primary source of occupational information. It looks at occupation-specific tasks, technology skills, tools used, work activities, detailed work activities, work context, experience requirements, training and credentials, skills, knowledge, education, abilities, interests, work values, work styles, wage and employment trends, job openings on the web, and related occupations.
- Clinical Research Coordinator- 11-9121.01
- Clinical Data Specialist
- Clinical Systems Analyst
- Clinical Data Developer
- Clinical Data Manager- 15-2051.02- Bright Outlook
- Health Data Analyst
- Health Informatics Specialist- 15-1211.01
- Health Information Management Director- 11-9111.000
- Health Information Technologists and Medical Registrars (Medical Records Director- 29-9021.00
Why Do the Positions Qualify as STEM?
The positions fall under STEM education because the HIM profession requires that students’ complete assignments that encourage the synthesis, evaluation, and utilization of critical thinking in the area of technology. The use of active learning is essential in STEM positions. Our health information programs require that students obtain hands-on experience in their professional practicum experiences.
These positions incorporate some of the following technology skills:
- Accounting software
- Analytical or scientific software
- Categorization or classification software
- Database reporting software
- Database management system software
- Database user interface and query software
- Enterprise resource planning software
- Geographic information system
- Medical software
What Are the Benefits of Having STEM Positions?
STEM positions tend to have higher salaries. For example, the average clinical data manager’s salary is $75,739 per year.2 The average health information management director’s salary is $75,188.3 They are positions that are some of the fastest-growing positions in the United States and the world. For example, O*Net has designated a clinical data manager as a position that has a “bright outlook.” These occupations are expected to grow exponentially in the future and have an increased amount of job openings. In addition, STEM positions have a higher job satisfaction rate.
STEMGrants.com awards STEM education projects. It provides funding to nonprofits, universities, governmental entities, and small businesses. There are STEM scholarships available for undergraduates:
- AIAA Foundation Undergraduate Scholarships Program
- ASDSO Scholarships
- ASME Scholarships Program
- Herbert Levey Memorial Scholarship
- Microsoft Scholarship Program
- Peggy Dixon Scholarship
- Scholarship America Dream Award
- Steinman Scholarship
Elizabeth Rockendorf, MS, RHIA, CHPS, CHTS-IM, wrote an article titled “Promoting HIM as a STEM Career.” In the article, she suggests HI practitioners need to advocate for the profession. STEM recognition is one way to do so. Health Information Management can revise job descriptions to contain the STEM components. A STEM workgroup of the AHIMA Council for Excellence in Education is developing an academic resource guide that identifies opportunities for faculty, students, and programs when connected to STEM recognized job roles. Health Information programs should also denote these designations on their websites. These programs should also participate in STEM career fairs to highlight these health information positions.
1. DeAlmeida. D. & Houser, S. & Wangia-Anderson, V. & Fenton, S. & Hazelwood, A. & Barefield, A. & Freeman, J. & Jones, L. & Bakuzonis, K. & Hamada, D. (2019). “An Exploratory Study Demonstrating the Health Information Management Profession as a STEM Discipline.” Perspectives in Health Information Management. 2019 Summer 16 (Summer)
2. Payscale (n.d). Average Health Information Management Director Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Health_Information_Management_(HIM)_Director/Salary
3. Payscale (n.d). Average Clinical Data Manager Salary. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Clinical_Data_Manager/Salary
4. Rockendorf, Elizabeth. (2022). Promoting HIM as a STEM Career. https://uwex.wisconsin.edu/stories-news/promoting-him-as-a-stem-career/
Nicole Van Andel is a lecturer in the health information management program at Indiana University.
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