Date of Conferral





Health Services


Suzanne M. Richins


The increased use of technology has affected almost every aspect of how data are collected, stored, retrieved, and analyzed across the health care system. The health information management (HIM) workforce in the United States is predominantly composed of women. With HIM employment rising by 2020, additional education of the current workforce is a necessity. This qualitative phenomenological study evaluated women working with HIM associate degrees and RHIT certifications to determine their perceived need for advanced education for career advancement. This study used the social cognitive career theory (SCCT) to determine how women in HIM perceive needs based on self-efficacy, expected outcomes, and goals. The research questions evaluated education type, subject matters, and ability to advance. The study recruitment process included the use of HIM online research forums resulting and narrative inquiry data collection from 22 personal interviews across 19 states in the Unites States. Colaizzi's data analysis strategy demonstrated themes of HIM education access, barriers, preparedness, and role interests. The data gathered showed need and interest in further education directly correlated to time remaining in career and role aspirations. Recommendations for further research include evaluation of advanced HIM education needs in a male population or individuals with post-graduate education. To affect positive change, dissemination of this study's findings to HIM leaders may create awareness and rationale for women to obtain technology and data related advanced education. In addition, this study may influence educational institutions to promote HIM as a field of study and fill the anticipated gap in HIM field expertise in the coming decade.