What is a CAHIIM-Accredited Program?
Understanding the Numbers
When reviewing job growth and salary information, it’s important to remember that actual numbers can vary due to many different factors — like years of experience in the role, industry of employment, geographic location, worker skill and economic conditions. Cited projections do not guarantee actual salary or job growth.
If you’re considering a career in the growing health information management (HIM) field, you may know that it’s important to choose a degree program with CAHIIM accreditation.
But what is a CAHIIM-accredited program, and how can it help you succeed?
CAHIIM-accredited programs have gone through a rigorous review process from the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), requiring that they meet specific curriculum criteria and other quality standards.
The accreditation process provides public accountability and ensures program educational quality, said Dr. Lynn Ward, health information management program director at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Ward has held a variety of roles within HIM, including quality improvement coordinator and HIM manager. Beyond that, she has also held volunteer positions, such as Chair of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Council on Excellence in Education.
“CAHIIM really sets the bar for academic programs in health information management,” said Ward.
What Does CAHIIM Stand For?
CAHIIM stands for the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. CAHIIM accreditation is a voluntary peer-review evaluation process that aims to ensure health information management programs meet common standards of educational quality.
CAHIIM strives to continuously improve quality education to meet the demands of the healthcare workforce, partnering with schools and professionals in the field.
According to CAHIIM, to receive accreditation, health information management schools must submit an application, participate in a self-assessment that demonstrates alignment with accreditation standards and undergo a site visit from CAHIIM representatives.
During the review process, the program's curriculum, faculty qualifications, resources and more are examined to ensure that they all align with CAHIIM standards, said Ward.
CAHIIM-accredited schools must also show that they are engaged in an ongoing review of these standards and are consistently striving to improve the quality of their programs.
"CAHIIM-accredited programs demonstrate quality assurance," said Ward. "Holding CAHIIM accreditation helps students be assured the curriculum is relevant and meets healthcare industry needs."
Find Your Program
If you want to earn a health information management degree, it’s important to understand how the industry is changing and how CAHIIM accreditation affects you.
Understanding the Health Information Management Field
Health information management is the process of obtaining and analyzing health information, according to Ward.
"HIM professionals help ensure the information is available, accurate, accessible and secure," she said.
HIM workers are responsible for organizing, managing and protecting patient information and other health data for doctor's offices, hospitals and other medical facilities.
Learn more about what health information management is.
The evolution of technology has led to new developments and adaptations in health information management. According to Ward, some of those include:
- AI - As AI progresses, there is a demand for data analytics in health information.
- Digital records - Digital records are becoming more common, but they can lead to increased security risks. HIM professionals work to protect the security of patient data.
- Mobile apps and patient portals - More healthcare facilities are using these tools, and the data from them must be managed effectively.
- Telehealth - With telehealth becoming more common during the pandemic, more patients were cared for remotely. It's necessary to manage this digital health data.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for health information technologists and technicians are projected to grow 7% by 2032, and jobs for medical and health services managers are projected to grow 28% by 2032.*
The CAHIIM accreditation process ensures that health information management schools are appropriately preparing students to take on the technological, regulatory and ethical challenges of managing patient data.
Is CAHIIM Accreditation Important?
Earning a health information management degree from a CAHIIM-accredited program has benefits for colleges and universities and their students, and it is a key factor in ensuring there is a qualified workforce for the growing health information field.
For students, the CAHIIM accreditation process ensures that they have access to a high-quality health information management program, which is critical to their success in the field.
Students who graduate from a CAHIIM-accredited program meet one of the eligibility criteria to sit for the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) credentialing exam, a minimum requirement for many health information management positions, said Ward.
“Only students who graduate from a CAHIIM-accredited program can sit for that exam,” Ward said. “It’s becoming more prevalent in the industry. More and more employers are recognizing the RHIA credential, so it really helps (graduates) with job search.”
*Cited job growth projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth. Actual salaries and/or earning potential may be the result of a combination of factors including, but not limited to: years of experience, industry of employment, geographic location, and worker skill.
Danielle Gagnon is a freelance writer focused on higher education. She started her career working as an education reporter for a daily newspaper in New Hampshire, where she reported on local schools and education policy. Gagnon served as the communications manager for a private school in Boston, MA before later starting her freelance writing career. Today, she continues to share her passion for education as a writer for Southern New Hampshire University.
Explore more content like this article
About Southern New Hampshire University
SNHU is a nonprofit, accredited university with a mission to make high-quality education more accessible and affordable for everyone.
Founded in 1932, and online since 1995, we’ve helped countless students reach their goals with flexible, career-focused programs. Our 300-acre campus in Manchester, NH is home to over 3,000 students, and we serve over 135,000 students online. Visit our about SNHU page to learn more about our mission, accreditations, leadership team, national recognitions and awards.