By Steven Krolak
(NEW ALBANY, Ind.)–Lisa Wise ’20 has become the first IU Southeast student to earn certification as a Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
“It is an absolutely wonderful feeling,” said Wise, currently a health information management supervisor at a local behavioral health facility.
The certification means that Wise has demonstrated a comprehensive knowledge of medical, administrative, ethical and legal requirements and standards related to healthcare delivery and the privacy of protected patient information, according to Holly Hoffman, director of the health information management program at IU Southeast.
The broad preparation and diversified skill set are important in a field that is projected to grow by eight percent by the end of the decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“RHIAs work in multiple settings in the healthcare industry, including hospitals, multispecialty clinics and physician practices, long-term care, mental health, and other ambulatory care settings,” Hoffman said. “They can also work in non-patient care settings such as managed care and insurance companies, software vendors, consulting services, government agencies, education, and pharmaceutical companies.”
Wise, who moved into the HIM program after initially pursuing a certificate in medical coding, credits its academic rigor with preparing her well for the RHIA exam.
“It was a challenging program that included Anatomy, Physiology, Biology, Healthcare Ethics, Informatics, Health Information Management, Statistics, Healthcare Reimbursement and many other subjects,” Wise said. “The professors are supportive and encouraging and willing to help in any way possible.”
That diversity opens doors in many directions. According to Hoffman, the HIM field is a good fit for anyone wanting to work in healthcare, but not directly with patients, for those with an aptitude for science, management, law, and computers, and for people who enjoy working with physicians, nurses, lawyers, administrators, and executives.
Wise exemplifies that mindset. In addition to her RHIA certification, she has also taken certification exams for medical transcription and medical coding.
Wise is now targeting a graduate degree in healthcare administration, and a further step up to teaching healthcare information administration.
She sees this as a continuum that includes her work at IU Southeast. What began with a desire to improve her earning capacity has become burgeoning career with the potential to benefit the next generation of health information administrators.
“I watched the HIM program develop and grow at IU Southeast, and I am grateful to be part of such a wonderful group of students,” Wise said. “I am thrilled to be the first IU Southeast student to receive the RHIA and hope to pass what I have learned on to others.”