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Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA®)

RHIAs are a critical link between care providers, payers, and patients. The RHIA has a comprehensive knowledge of medical, administrative, ethical, and legal requirements and standards related to healthcare delivery and privacy of protected patient information. 

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. 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. 

RHIAs: 

  • Manage people and operational units, participate in administrative committees, and prepare budgets. 
  • Interact with all levels of an organization—clinicalfinancial, administrative, and information systemsthat employ patient data in decision-making and everyday operations. 
  • Manage patient health information and medical records, administer computer information systems, collect and analyze patient data, and use classification systems and medical terminologies. 

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements: Before applying to take the RHIA exam, you must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:

¹ Students interested in obtaining a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate, Certificate of Completion, or Transfer of Credits information must contact the CAHIIM-accredited program in which they wish to enroll regarding their institutional policies. Please visit the CAHIIM program directory for a list of CAHIIM-accredited programs.

² AHIMA and the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA); Korean Medical Record Association (KMRA); and Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) shall permit a graduate of a program in HIM at the baccalaureate degree level to apply to write the appropriate certification examination consistent with the academic level achieved and given independently by the aforementioned associations. The graduate must meet the educational competencies for certification as a technician or administrator established by the association to which the application is made.

³ Registered Health Information Technicians (RHITs) who meet the following eligibility requirements will be eligible to sit for the RHIA examination during the timeframe of July 1, 2017 through December 31, 2021:

  • Have at least a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution or nationally recognized accreditor; and
  • Have received their RHIT credential on or before December 31, 2018; and
  • Have complied with the Standards for Maintenance of the RHIT credential.

4 Candidates with a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university AND a certificate of the degree from a CAHIIM-accredited HIM program are eligible to sit for the RHIA exam. Graduates of programs that have closed or are no longer accredited, but were accredited at the time the person graduated and received their certificate of the degree, are also eligible to sit for the RHIA exam.

Apply for the Exam

Apply to take the Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) exam.  

Eligibility for Early Testing

Students in CAHIIM-accredited HIM academic programs may be eligible to apply for and take the RHIA or RHIT certification exam early. Students who meet the following requirements are eligible for early testing:

  • Students currently enrolled and in their last term of study
  • Students who have completed their course work but have not yet graduated
  • Graduates that are currently waiting for their official transcripts

To apply to take the exam early, purchase the exam through the AHIMA Store. Complete the online exam application, select the early testing options and upload the completed application for early testing. Please be sure to only submit your exam application with the completed application for early testing, otherwise your application will not be approved.

Candidates who apply for early testing and successfully pass their exam will have their credential granted once official transcripts that include the graduation date are received and verified. Recertification requirements are the same as for others who pass the exam. The exam date will serve as the official date the credential is granted. 

About the RHIA Exam

Certified Professionals and Pass Rates

As of 12/31/19, there were 16,562 certified RHIA professionals.

Year Exam # First-Time Testers Pass Rate First-Time Testers
2019* RHIA 1,112 70%
2018* RHIA 1,129 71%
2017 RHIA 1,125 72%

*U.S. and Canada results only

Exam Specifications

The RHIA is a timed exam. Candidates have four hours to complete the exam. The total number of questions on the exam range between 170 and 200 total items. The exam is given in a computer-based format.

AHIMA exams contain a variety of questions or item types that require you to use your knowledge, skills, or experience to select the best answer. Each exam includes scored questions and pre-test questions randomly distributed throughout the exam. Pre-test questions are not counted in the final results.

The passing score for the RHIA is 300.

Competencies for RHIAs fall into five domains. Each domain accounts for a specific percentage of the total questions on the certification exam. See the Exam Content Outline below for greater detail.

Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) Exam Content Outline (Effective through 12/31/20)

Download 2020 Exam Content Outline.

2021 Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) Exam Content Outline (Effective 1/1/21)

See below for 2021 Exam Content Outline.

Tasks: 

  1. Evaluate the integrity of health data 
  2. Apply knowledge necessary to process the required clinical data elements for quality reporting (e.g. facility committees, payers) 
  3. Understand and apply data dictionary standardization policies 
  4. Manage data standards based on organizational policy 
  5. Complete data analysis to inform management 
  6. Apply knowledge necessary to develop policies and procedures for data management and information governance 
  7. Manage health record content and documentation 

Tasks: 

  1. Manage patient access to their health information 
  2. Apply knowledge necessary to advocate for patients and families in the process of obtaining health information 
  3. Apply knowledge necessary to process healthcare information requests according to legal and regulatory standards 
  4. Monitor access to Protected Health Information (PHI) within the organization 
  5. Apply knowledge necessary to comply with retention and destruction policies for healthcare information 
  6. Apply knowledge necessary to monitor release of information workflows 
  7. Follow breach of information protocols 
  8. Apply knowledge necessary to ensure compliance with privacy initiatives 
  9. Ensure compliance with security initiatives 
  10. Monitor organizational compliance with health laws, regulations, or standards 

Tasks: 

  1. Develop productivity reports 
  2. Prepare to support end users in EHR applications 
  3. Apply knowledge necessary to create visual representations of data for decision-making 
  4. Provide summary reports based on trends 
  5. Apply knowledge necessary to use database management techniques (e.g. data mining) 
  6. Manage the integrity of the master patient index 
  7. Apply knowledge necessary to audit documentation using a focused tool (e.g. CDI, quality, safety) 
  8. Apply knowledge necessary to optimize health information technology to improve workflow 
  9. Support health information exchange solutions 
  10. Examine clinical, administrative, and specialty service applications 
  11. Validate healthcare statistics for organizational stakeholders 

Tasks: 

  1. Apply knowledge necessary to educate providers on value-based care programs and guidelines 
  2. Validate coding accuracy 
  3. Monitor health plan clinical documentation requirements 
  4. Conduct clinical documentation improvement (CDI) 
  5. Verify the claims management process 
  6. Assign diagnoses and procedure codes and groupings according to official guidelines 
  7. Apply knowledge necessary to conduct revenue integrity activities 
  8. Apply knowledge necessary to perform fraud prevention 

Tasks: 

  1. Apply knowledge necessary to implement strategies to support organizational initiatives 
  2. Apply knowledge necessary to collaborate on contract management (e.g., vendors, outsourcing) 
  3. Apply knowledge necessary to perform human resource management activities (e.g., recruiting staff, creating job descriptions, resolving personnel issues) 
  4. Apply knowledge necessary to perform work design and process improvement activities 
  5. Apply knowledge necessary to facilitate training and development 
  6. Apply knowledge necessary to assist with preparation of budgets 
  7. Assist with entity accreditation, licensing, or certification processes 

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