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RHIA and Other Health Information Management Certifications

UW Extended Campus November 18, 2021

One way to advance in the health information management (HIM) field is to earn professional health information management certifications. The Registered Health Information Administrator credential is a popular choice for HIM workers, but it is one of several options for those seeking to enter and advance in the field. Below, explore four respected and widely-known health information management certifications: RHIA, CHDA, CHPS, and CDIP.

Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA)

What is the RHIA credential? The RHIA is a health information management certification awarded by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) that demonstrates expertise in the management of protected information stored in electronic health records, including its input, security, transmission, and storage. Those with RHIA certification help extract meaning from this data, including its limitations and its potential uses. The RHIA is sometimes confused with the Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) credential, which is earned by HIM workers who want to complete more technical tasks and dabble directly in the data itself.

Why is the RHIA beneficial? Those with the RHIA credential understand the business of healthcare—how coded data translates to payment, quality indicators, patient safety scores, and more. Organizations increasingly require HIM employees to have formal RHIA training validated by certification. It also increases earning potential and career mobility; those with the RHIA are primed to take on HIM leadership roles.

How can one earn an RHIA certification? To get RHIA certified, you must complete an HIM bachelor’s degree or master’s degree accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). After earning an accredited degree, you must pass a 180-question certification exam administered by AHIMA. Find out more about the RHIA exam here.

Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA)

What is the CHDA credential? The CHDA credential is awarded by AHIMA and demonstrates knowledge of acquiring, managing, analyzing, interpreting, and transforming data into accurate, consistent, and timely information.

Why is the CHDA beneficial? To employers, this health information management certification demonstrates expertise in data analysis, the ability to balance the big-picture strategic vision with day-to-day details, and commitment to the profession and professional development. This credential could help an individual get hired for positions such as healthcare data analyst or business operations specialist.

How can one earn CHDA certification? You must pass an AHIMA-administered 150-question exam to earn the CHDA credential. To sit for the exam, you must meet one of these criteria:

  • The RHIT credential and three or more years of healthcare data experience
  • A bachelor’s degree and three or more years of healthcare data experience
  • The RHIA credential
  • A CAHIIM-accredited master’s degree in HIM or health informatics
  • A master’s degree or higher and one year of healthcare data experience

Certified in Healthcare Privacy and Security (CHPS)

What is the CHPS credential? Also awarded by AHIMA, this certification indicates competence in designing, implementing, and administering privacy and security protection in all types of healthcare organizations.

Why is the CHPS beneficial? The CHPS credential demonstrates specialized knowledge in the privacy and security of health information. When employers see CHPS on a resume, it communicates that the applicant has met the requirements for positions such as documentation quality coordinator, documentation improvement specialist, or HIM consultant.

How can one earn CHPS certification? You must pass a 150-question exam administered by AHIMA. To sit for the CHPS certification exam, you must meet one of these criteria:

  • An associate degree and six or more years of healthcare privacy and security management experience
  • The RHIT and four or more years of healthcare privacy and security management experience
  • A bachelor’s degree and four or more years of healthcare privacy and security management experience
  • The RHIA credential and two or more years of healthcare privacy and security management experience
  • A master’s degree or higher and two or more years of experience in healthcare privacy and security management experience

Certified Documentation Improvement Practitioner (CDIP)

What is the CDIP credential? Strong clinical documentation improvement programs are critical to ensuring quality patient care at healthcare organizations. The CDIP credential demonstrates an individual’s ability to capture clear, concise, and compliant documentation needed to communicate patient health status and conditions.

Why is the CDIP beneficial? AHIMA created this health information management certification in response to high industry demand for experts and leaders in clinical documentation of patient health records. With the CDIP credential, an individual is seen as a distinguished, knowledgeable, and competent clinical documentation specialist. It increases earning potential and opportunities to advance.

How can one earn CDIP certification? To earn CDIP certification, you need to pass an exam administered by AHIMA. You are eligible to sit for the exam if you meet one of these criteria:

  • An RHIA, RHIT, RN, doctorate, or coding certification and two years of clinical documentation improvement experience
  • An associate degree or higher and three years of clinical documentation improvement experience

WHAT’S NEXT?

Discover

Find out what the careers outlook is for HIM professionals. Or, read about more certifications such as Epic certification and CAHIMS. 

Explore

Interested in a CAHIIM-accredited Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Technology from University of Wisconsin? Start your journey here.

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Questions about the UW degree program or HIMT field? Contact an enrollment adviser.

Programs: Health Information Management and Technology