10 emerging roles for HIM pros in a digital era
The roles for health information management professionals are changing as the healthcare industry moves to a digital environment. Changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act, advances in electronic record keeping and increased concern for data security have produced vastly different job responsibilities in the field, according to the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, which offers an accredited graduate health administration program.
Helping patients access their record
It is estimated that 50 percent of providers are still using paper charts to some degree. As providers complete the switchover to electronic systems, health informaticists suggest and often implement new programs that not only improve record keeping but also give patients access to their records online.
Ensuring safety of private patient data
From addresses to prescriptions, the amount of sensitive patient information that providers exchange is daunting. The health informatics department is the custodian of this information, guarding it from unauthorized personnel and security breaches.
Complying with HIPAA
Health informaticists ensure compliance with HIPAA regulations, which provide specific data-protection measures, including data encryption, disclosure policies and breach notification plans. Health informaticists guarantee providers are following these complex rules and keeping patient information protected.
Mining data to improve patient safety
Health informaticists analyze data to look for ways to improve patient safety. For example, an informaticist could analyze trends in healthcare-associated infections or falls so healthcare professionals can create solutions to those problems.
Analyzing health records for accuracy
It’s the job of the health information management team to examine electronic records for errors or incomplete information. For the highest level of care, records must contain up-to-date patient information.
Creating a standard language
Health informaticists translate clinical data into usable information for everyone from home health aides to insurance providers. Patient safety is improved through a universal nomenclature that maintains accuracy and provides necessary, user-friendly information to those who need it.
Improving care through better coordination
With knowledge and proficiencies in electronic record keeping, health informaticists help providers coordinate patient care. Electronic records provide a big-picture look at a patient, with real-time information that can be accessed by every doctor, nurse or physical therapist who interacts with a patient.
Communicating with healthcare staff
Healthcare informaticists are the gatekeepers of information, which is why they work closely with a wide range of healthcare professionals and support staff. They bridge the gap between administrators and those working one-on-one with patients to provide care. Closing this gap ensures that no patient information is lost, misplaced or mishandled.
Providing financial information
Healthcare informaticists integrate clinical care data with financial data. Using these statistics, executives can make decisions that improve patient service and quality of care.
Improving healthcare literacy
A growing number of health care informaticists are designing strategies to help patients navigate common problems, including complicated discharge instructions and code-heavy insurance bills. By improving healthcare literacy, informaticists remove barriers to quality care.