Health Information Management Program - Certificate | Penn Foster Career School

Online Health Information Management Certificate

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

Learn new job skills or refresh your current ones with Penn Foster Career School's Online Health Information Management program. What is health information management? Workers in this field typically handle and maintain patient records while following local and federal laws. These valuable team members need a sharp eye for detail and must be comfortable with the coding system used within the healthcare industry.

In Penn Foster Career School's Health Information Management training program, you'll learn to manage information within a healthcare setting, study legal and ethical rules, gain new communication skills, and learn how medical offices work. Plus, you'll learn at a pace that's right for you – and you can complete the program in as little as two months!

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The Health Information Management Certificate program helps students learn new job skills and expand existing health care management knowledge to improve performance in their current positions.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Review patient records for timeliness, completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of data
  • Organize and maintain data for clinical databases and registries
  • Track patient outcomes for quality assessment
  • Use classification software to assign clinical codes for reimbursement and data analysis
  • Electronically record data for collection, storage, analysis, retrieval, and reporting
  • Protect patients’ health information for confidentiality, authorized access for treatment, and data security

Course 1

Lesson 1: Health Information and Litigation

This lesson explores the basic workings of the legal system in America.


  • Differentiate between public law and “private law”
  • Understand the difference between procedural and substantive criminal law
  • Explain how the three branches of government create, administer, and enforce the law
  • Understand and describe quasi-legal requirements to which health-care providers are subject
  • Explain the difference between subject matter jurisdiction and personal jurisdiction
  • Explain the differences between trials and appeals
  • Identify steps in a lawsuit
  • Describe different methods of discovery
  • Explain the different types of alternative dispute resolution
  • Define the legal meaning of these terms: evidence, admissible, and hearsay
  • Explain why medical records are hearsay and the exception to the rule that allows them to be admitted
  • Explain the role of the health information manager in establishing the foundation and trustworthiness of records for evidence purposes
  • List questions commonly asked to establish the foundation for entering records into evidence
  • Explain the application of patient-doctor privilege in the judicial process
  • Describe the differences between a subpoena, subpoena ad testificandum, and a subpoena duces tecum
  • Compare and contrast a court order authorizing disclosure of health information with a subpoena
  • Compare and contrast the three recommended responses of a health information manager to a subpoena
  • Explain what to do when presented with an invalid subpoena duces tecum
Lesson 2: Legal and Ethical Basis for Confidentiality of Health Information

This lesson explores patient record requirements. You’ll complete a midterm examination following the end of this lesson.


  • Summarize the multiple functions and uses of a medical record.
  • Explain how sources of law influence the content of the medical record.
  • Explain the length of time for which records should be retained under different circumstances and how records may permissibly be destroyed.
  • Explain the difference between privacy and confidentiality.
  • Discuss the sources of law upon which the right to privacy is based.
  • Understand the principles behind exceptions to consent in emergency situations.
  • Describe features of these relationships: physician-patient, hospital-patient, and hospital-physician.
  • State the elements of a negligence claim and define medical malpractice.
  • List methods of establishing standard of care.
  • Explain the term res ipsa loquitur.
  • Compare and contrast vicarious liability with corporate negligence.
  • Describe the difference between assault and battery.
  • Describe the intentional torts of defamation, invasion of privacy, and medical abandonment.
  • Identify defenses commonly raised in cases involving health-care providers.
  • Explain the difference between contributory negligence and comparative negligence.
Lesson 3: Health Information Access and Disclosure

This lesson explores access to health information, with an emphasis on HIPAA laws.


  • Discuss who owns health information.
  • Explain the meaning of “protected health information” under HIPAA’s final privacy rule.
  • Explain the core concepts of HIPAA’s final privacy rules.
  • List the core elements of a valid release of information form.
  • Explain the principle of the minimum necessary standard.
  • Identify who may release health information and methods employed to disclose health information.
  • Explain the purpose of a redisclosure statement.
  • Compare the judicial approach with the legislative approach for access to adoption records.
  • Discuss the regulations governing patient identification and their practical application.
  • Identify when substance abuse health information may be released without prior patient consent.
  • Explain the difference between a court order authorizing disclosure of patient-specific information and a subpoena duces tecum and how to respond to both.
  • Explain the difference between the official record and the personal record in the mental health/developmental disability context.
  • Explain the benefits and risks associated with genetic information.
  • Discuss the three steps of voluntary testing.
  • Describe restrictions that confidentiality statutes and ethical guidelines place on HIV/AIDS information.
Lesson 4: Health Information and Medical Office Administration

This lesson explores risk management and quality management. You’ll also learn about the transition to computerized patient records. A research assignment and comprehensive final examination follow the end of this lesson.


  • Compare and contrast risk management with quality management.
  • Explain how the three components of patient record requirements relate to risk management.
  • Define an incident report and explain how it relates to attorney-client privilege.
  • Differentiate between the discovery and the admissibility of incident reports.
  • Explain the differing aims of peer review statutes.
  • Describe the reporting requirements of the Health Care Quality Improvement Act.
  • Compare and contrast the three broad categories of law and regulation governing the creation and storage of computerized patient records.
  • List types of lawsuits that may arise from breach of confidentiality of computerized patient health information records.
  • Compare and contrast physical security, personnel security, and risk prevention techniques and discuss risk prevention techniques.
  • Discuss security issues associated with the Internet and email.
  • Discuss how HIPAA rules impact computerized patient records.
Additional Course Material

Textbook: Legal Aspects of Health Information Management

Course 2

HIT130 Electronic Medical Records


  • Discuss the history of electronic health records
  • Perform administrative health information management functions
  • Build an electronic health record
  • Enter information into an electronic health record
  • Utilize templates to increase productivity
Additional Course Material

Textbook: The Electronic Health Record for the Physician's Office with SimChart for the Medical Office

Simulation: SimChart for the Medical Office

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Windows XP are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and OS X are trademarks of Apple, Inc registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Health Information Management program sample lesson, click here.

Health Information Management Program Details

Penn Foster Career School can help you gain relevant knowledge and skills, covering topics such as record storage and the ethical and legal rules covered in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

State Licensing Information

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Health Information Management Program

Here are a few qualities that effective medical professionals have in common:

  • Organized: Keep confidential health forms and patient information in the right places.
  • Honest: Insurance companies, doctors, and patients trust you.
  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Dependable: Patients and doctors rely on you to be organized and on time.
  • Compassionate: You care about the health and well-being of others.

I just recently graduated. I would definitely recommend Penn Foster to others. Their support was tremendous. Thank you all for the encouragement... Penn Foster rocks!!!

- Dahlia R., Penn Foster Graduate

I would like to say that enrolling with Penn Foster Career School was the best choice that I ever made. I would recommend Penn Foster. I just have to say 'Thank You' to Penn Foster for achieving my goal.

- Francisco C., Penn Foster Graduate

Penn Foster is a great school with amazing people who always help and work with you through ANY situation. I experienced a fire in my home, and Penn Foster was there for me to cope through the situation. Thank you, and I will be doing another program soon.

- Claudia D., Penn Foster Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Books and learning aid
  • Goal-setting and progress-tracking tools
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, plus immediate membership in the Health Information Management Certificate academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Are the certificates medical basics courses transferable to other medical & health career programs?

Credits earned in Penn Foster programs may transfer to some, but not all, learning institutions. Students who plan to continue their education with another school after completing coursework with Penn Foster Career School should check with that school regarding credit transfer policies. No form of accreditation guarantees that any learning institution will accept credits from any school as transfer credits.

What will I get when I finish the Health Information Management Certificate Program?

When you complete this certificate program, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Penn Foster Career School.

More FAQs >

The completion of a certificate-level program does not typically qualify a student for employment. Completion of this program may assist students who have previous academic or work-related experience improve their chances for promotion or entry-level employment.

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