Why it’s important to seize new opportunities in HIM

Each of us has the power to change our lives as well as the lives of those around us. This is the theme of a recent article I read by Jeff Haden titled 19 Things Remarkable People Think Every Day. The article, which was published on Inc.com, includes a lot of salient points that are relevant to HIM professionals.

My favorite point that Haden mentions in the article is, “I’ll step up.” He writes about how remarkable people don’t shy away from new experiences, but rather they view each new experience as an opportunity to learn, gain skills, and build relationships. By stepping up and volunteering to take on new roles and tasks, we create opportunities to be successful.

The HIM profession is teeming with new opportunities to explore, particularly in this age of electronic health records, big data, data exchange, and ICD-10. The HIM of department of tomorrow will be one in which HIM professionals must be willing to take on leadership roles to ensure technology adoption, enterprise-wide data integrity, and productive remote employees. Consider the following ways in which professionals can ‘step up’ and seize these opportunities to effect change within their organizations:

Patient portals: In this digital age of patient engagement, HIM professionals can serve as a resource for patients, helping them navigate the world of portals and answering questions as they arise. HIM professionals should also have significant input into the design of the portal, including what information is released and how that information is protected.

Disclosure management: As information is increasingly stored and accessed in the EHR, HIM professionals must ensure that the organization uses secure technology with advanced reporting functionality. HIM professionals must also perform comprehensive workflow and quality assurance checks on every disclosure that occurs. They must also track all aspects of the process to ensure compliance. Educate all employees about the ramifications of improper disclosures and releases of information. Hold employees accountable for their actions.

Data quality and integrity: Data integrity continues to play an important role in health information exchange, quality indicators, patient safety, reimbursement, and more. Big data continues to become even bigger as EHRs adoption grows. HIM professionals can take the reins within their organizations to ensure that data is accurate and complete. This requires strict oversight of data input and an ability to articulate the meaning, context, intent, and limitations of that data.

ICD-10: With the October 1, 2015 deadline quickly approaching, many HIM professionals are spearheading ICD-10 efforts, including coder training, documentation improvement, query updates, and ICD-10 testing with payers. Specialty-specific physician education should be a focus area between now and the deadline. Coders also require ongoing refresher training as well as opportunities to practice ICD-10 using actual medical records. HIM directors can solicit administrative buy-in to ensure a smooth transition.

Health information exchange (HIE): HIE continues to grow particularly in light of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT’s January 2014 release of a draft interoperability road map that calls for widespread interoperability by 2024. As HIE expands, HIM professionals must ensure that privacy and security requirements are met. Those who are interested in HIE can also play an important role in defining the data exchange model, developing standards for data quality, identifying strategies to ensure accurate patient identity, and performing patient education about why information exchange is important.

Find your passion, then follow it
People who are stepping up believe that what they do matters, and it does matter. Choose an initiative about which you feel passionate. Where can your skills and knowledge best be put to good use? What will you step up for today, tomorrow, and in the future? Please share your thoughts.

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AHIMA Approved

This program has been approved for continuing education unit(s) (CEUs) for use in fulfilling the continuing education requirements of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Granting of Approved CEUs from AHIMA does not constitute endorsement of the program content or its program provider.