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Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) Review & Study Guide

Essential Test Prep Tips to Help You Pass the RHIT Exam the First Time

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There are several Medical Office Administrator certifications available to those who wish to advance their careers.

To help current and aspiring Medical Office Administrators achieve their goals, we launched a series of test-prep tips and study guides for various exams that are well recognized in the field.

(Click here to learn how to become a Medical Office Administrator).

This study guide will focus on the RHIT, which stands for Registered Health Information Technician. The RHIT exam is administered by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), which is recognized as one of the most respected health informatics and information management (HIIM) credentialing agencies in the nation.

If you are considering certification as an RHIT, we created this guide to offer you a roadmap to success while preparing for the exam.

How to Pass the RHIT (AHIMA) Certification Exam

Our comprehensive RHIT study plan will cover the following questions and topics:

  1. What is the RHIT exam?
  2. How do you pass the RHIT?
  3. What is on the RHIT exam?
  4. Is the RHIT exam hard to pass?
  5. The RHIT exam requirements
  6. RHIT exam sample questions
  7. General tips and test strategies for passing the RHIT exam
  8. Information on RHIT test results, and
  9. What to do before exam day

But first, let’s begin with a brief refresher…

What Is the RHIT Exam?

The RHIT exam is a professional certification that qualifies you to become a Registered Health Information Technician.

Health Information Technicians are certified healthcare professionals who can leverage technology in a variety of ways to manage a medical office with increased efficiency and more accurate organization. The RHIT is a timed exam and it contains a variety of questions which enable you to showcase your knowledge and expertise in the field of health informatics and administration.

How to Apply for the RHIT Exam

Applicants who meet one of the AHIMA’s eligibility categories must complete the following steps to apply for the RHIT Exam:

Step 1:

Read the Candidate Guide.

Step 2:

All applications must be submitted online. Fees must be paid via credit card online.

Step 3:

Confirm the name used to register for the exam is an exact match to your identification card(s).

Step 4:

If eligible, apply for testing accommodations.

Step 5:

Once your Authorization to Test (ATT) email arrives from Pearson Vue, verify the information is correct and read the email in its entirety.

Step 6:

Schedule an exam with Pearson Vue within your 120-day eligibility window (window starts the day the ATT letter is created).

You can learn more about each of these steps here.

RHIT Exam Requirements

What Are the Requirements to Take the RHIT Exam?

Candidates must meet one of AHIMA’s RHIT requirements to sit for the exam.

Category 1: Complete an associate-degree level program for Health Information Management (HIM).

The program must have been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM).

Category 2: Complete a bachelor’s degree program for Health Information Management (HIM) from an accredited college or university.

Category 3: Graduate from an HIM program approved by a foreign association which has a reciprocity agreement with AHIMA.

What Is on the RHIT Exam?

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There are lots of RHIT contents and practice tutorials provided by the AHIMA. Their mission is to help applicants succeed, so it’s best to take advantage of all their resources.

With the AHIMA’s content outline, you can effectively prepare for the test. In fact, they encourage all candidates to use this resource. RHIT competencies fall into six domains; each one accounts for a percentage of the total questions.

  1. Data Content, Structure, and Information Governance (24-28%)
    • Apply health information guidelines (e.g. coding guidelines, CMS, facility or regional best practices, federal and state regulations)
    • Apply healthcare standards (e.g. Joint Commission, Meaningful Use)
    • Define the legal health record
    • Maintain the integrity of the legal health record
    • Audit content and completion of the legal health record (e.g. validate document content)
    • Maintain secondary health information (e.g. patient registration, financial records)
    • Educate clinicians on documentation and content
    • Coordinate document control (e.g. create, revise, standardize forms)
    • Maintain the MPI
  1. Access, Disclosure, Privacy, and Security (12-16%)
    • Manage disclosure of PHI using laws, regulations, and guidelines (e.g. release of information, accounting of disclosures)
    • Determine right of access to the legal health record
    • Educate internal customers (e.g. clinicians, staff, volunteers, students) on privacy, access, and disclosure
    • Educate external customers (e.g. patients, insurance companies, attorneys) on privacy, access, and disclosure
    • Assess health record disposition (retain, archive, or destroy)
    • Conduct privacy audits
    • Conduct security audits
  1. Data Analytics and Use (14-18%)
    • Abstract data
    • Analyze data
    • Analyze privacy audits
    • Analyze security audits
    • Report data (e.g. registries, core measures)
    • Compile healthcare statistics and reports
    • Analyze healthcare statistics (e.g. census productivity, delinquency rates, resource allocation)
  1. Revenue Cycle Management (14-18%)
    • Code medical/health record documentation
    • Query clinicians
    • Conduct utilization review
    • Manage denials (e.g. coding or insurance)
    • Conduct coding audits
    • Provide coding education
    • Monitor Discharged Not Final Billed (DNFB)
    • Analyze the case mix
  1. Compliance (13-17%)
    • Refine departmental procedures
    • Perform quality assessments
    • Assess risks (e.g. patient care, legal)
    • Report health information noncompliance
    • Ensure HIM compliance (e.g. coding, ROI, CDI)
    • Maintain standards for HIM functions (e.g. chart completion, coding accuracy, ROI turnaround time, departmental workflow)
    • Monitor regulatory changes for timely and accurate implementation
  1. Leadership (11-15%)
    • Provide education regarding HIM laws and regulations
    • Review HIM processes
    • Create or modify HIM policies
    • Create or modify HIM procedures
    • Establish standards for HIM functions (e.g. chart completion, coding accuracy, ROI, turnaround time, departmental workflow)
    • Collaborate with other departments for HIM interoperability
    • Provide HIM technical expertise

How to Prepare for the RHIT (AHIMA) Exam

To help you prepare for the RHIT exam, let’s begin by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about the exam itself.

How many questions are on the RHIT exam?

This computer-based exam consists of 130 to 160 questions. You’ll have 3.5 hours to complete it.

What is the passing score for the RHIT exam?

The passing score for the RHIT is 300.

How many people pass the RHIT exam on their first try?

In December of 2019, there were 32,714 certified RHIT professionals. This exam has a 76% pass rate for first-time testers.

How much does it cost to take the RHIT exam?

The exam costs $229 for members and $299 for non-members. All fees must be paid via credit card.

When can you take the RHIT exam?

Each RHIT candidate is allowed a 120-day period in which to take the exam. This means that the exam must be scheduled and taken within those 120 calendar days.

When do you receive your RHIT exam results?

You will receive your results immediately after completing the exam. The score report will not include your performance on pretest questions. These questions are not used to determine passing or failing, either.

Why should you pick RHIT for your certification?

With this certification, you demonstrate your competency and professionalism to future employers. The AHIMA has claimed that 75% of their members earn $50,000 or more—some without a four-year baccalaureate! The AHIMA also offers various flexible options to earn your first credential, including classroom settings or self-study.

RHIT Test Prep

RHIT Sample Quiz Questions

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To help you gauge some of the topics on the exam, we compiled a few sample questions taken directly from Mometrix’s online practice test.

(You can find the answers to these questions at the bottom of the article).

  1. A laboratory test is intended to measure the incidence of cancer cells in a particular sample, but instead, it determines the number of healthy cells. Which characteristic of this laboratory test is deficient?
    • a) Validity
    • b) Reliability
    • c) Specificity
    • d) Sensitivity
  2. What is typically the first step in a progressive disciplinary process?
    • a) Suspension
    • b) Termination
    • c) Oral warning
    • d) Written reprimand
  3. Which of the following pieces of data must be collected during each visit to a health practitioner?
    • a) Name
    • b) Self-reported health status
    • c) Date of birth
    • d) Ethnicity
  4. During the month of January, a 400-bed health care facility had 450 deaths, 2,500 other discharges, and 11,000 inpatient service days. What was the inpatient bed occupancy rate for January? Round to the nearest percentage point.
    • a) 44%
    • b) 94%
    • c) 28%
    • d) 89%
  5. An organization surveys the members of a community about their alcohol consumption. Questionnaires are mailed to the local residents along with self-addressed stamped envelopes. The results of the survey indicate that the area has a below-average rate of alcoholism. What is the most likely reason for these results?
    • a) Nonresponse bias
    • b) Survival bias
    • c) Prevarication bias
    • d) Diagnosis bias
  6. A health care administrator, looking for ways to decrease patient wait time in the emergency room, studies the methods successful restaurants have used to increase table turnover. What quality improvement strategy is the administrator using?
    • a) Internal benchmarking
    • b) Performance benchmarking
    • c) Competitive benchmarking
    • d) Comparative benchmarking
  7. Which form of management makes the most use of statistical analysis?
    • a) Risk management
    • b) Utilization management
    • c) Participatory management
    • d) Quality assessment
  8. Which piece of legislation created a program for detecting fraudulent health plans?
    • a) Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1995
    • b) Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996
    • c) Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987
    • d) Patient Self-Determination Act of 1990
  9. Which of the following is a basic assumption of normative decision theory?
    • a) Decision makers have total knowledge of the available options
    • b) Decision makers cannot maximize revenue
    • c) Decision makers can never fully understand their situations
    • d) Decision makers tend toward satisfying choices
  10. A health care administrator is establishing budgets for staff. It is estimated that the information desk receives 8,000 queries annually. A full-time staff member can handle about 20 queries per day. The employees at the facility typically use nine vacation days and take seven sick days during the year, and there are eleven holidays as well. How many full-time employees should the health care administrator include in the budget, taking into account the productivity adjustment? Round all figures to the nearest tenth and all percentages to the nearest point.
    • a) 2.5
    • b) 1.7
    • c) 1.3
    • d) 1.1

RHIT Test Strategies

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What to Do Before the RHIT Exam

Here is a summary of the steps you’ll need to follow the day of the exam. Consider this your pre-test checklist!

  1. Verify the materials needed at the Pearson VUE testing centers (e.g., code books).
  2. Verify the name on the ATT letter matches your identification exactly.
  3. Confirm the form(s) of identification needed to enter the testing center.
  4. Confirm time and date of exam.
  5. Check the directions to your assigned testing center.
  6. Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your testing time with your required materials and form(s) of identification needed to take the exam.

How to Renew Your RHIT Certification

To recertify, you must earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs) during a 2-year certification cycle. If you have one AHIMA credential—such as RHIT—you must earn either 20 or 30 CEUs per recertification cycle.

  • The initial recertification cycle for newly credentialed individuals (i.e., individuals who have earned their first credential) is two years beginning on the day the exam was passed.
  • If you took an exam as an early tester or you have multiple credentials, then your recertification cycle will likely be altered. The AHIMA advises that you check your CEU Center for more information about your recertification cycle.

Recertification Fees

The recertification fee is $218.

If you hold more than one credential, the first recertification fee is $218 plus $50 for each additional certification.

Note: AHIMA members pay their recertification fees in addition to their annual membership renewal. If membership status is not retained for both years of the two-year recertification cycle, you are required to pay the non-member recertification fee.

Recertification Checklist

  1. Obtain the required number of CEUs during your recertification cycle for each credential (at least 80% of required CEUs for each credential must be related to one of AHIMA’s specified HIIM domains).
  2. Complete your mandatory annual coding self-reviews (self-assessments), if applicable.
  3. Participate in accepted and qualified CEU activities.
  4. Enter your CEUs on time.
  5. Keep all CEU certificates and activities documented for auditing purposes.
  6. Ensure your recertification fee is paid.

MOA Diploma

If you’re not ready to launch your career as a Health Information Technician, you may want to consider pursing a diploma in Medical Office Administration.

Although it may not qualify you for the RHIT Certification exam, MOA training can help you gauge your interest and passion for the field before pursuing your associate degree.

The responsibilities of a Medical Office Administrator may even mirror the job duties of a RHIT specialist. These can include but are not limited to the following tasks:

  • Reviewing patients’ records for timeliness and accuracy
  • Organizing and managing data for clinical databases and registries
  • Tracking patient outcomes
  • Using software to administer insurance reimbursement and data analysis
  • Recording data for collection, storage, analysis, and reporting
  • Maintain patient record confidentiality

Furthermore, an MOA diploma program could also lead to clinical field experience, which can equip you with the knowledge, skills, and prior work history to help you seek employment upon receiving your RHIT certification.

Advance Your Medical Career

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Our goal for this article was to provide you with practical tips on how to pass the RHIT (AHIMA) Certification Exam. We hope it gives you the knowledge and confidence to take that next step forward in your career.

One rewarding aspect of certification is the ability to advance within the field. Some enjoy lifelong careers as MOAs, while others build on their experience to apply to higher-level programs and become Medical or Health Service Managers.

You just have to take that first step. Best of luck!


Answers: 1)A  2)C  3)A  4)D  5)A  6)D  7)D  8)B  9)A 10)B