Health Information Professionals’ week is approaching, and we would like to take a moment to recognize the invaluable contributions of these HIM professionals. As a vital component of the healthcare industry, these gatekeepers of information maintain Electronic Health Records (EHR) by providing expertise in coding, reporting, and security. You can find them working at healthcare provider organizations ranging from large hospitals to small private practices. They are skilled, analytical individuals with a knack for coming up with creative solutions. If you are someone who is interested in starting a career as an HIM professional, here are a few things to take into consideration:
As stated by ECPI University, “The most eligible and successful HIMs begin their careers by obtaining an Associate of Applied Science degree in Health Science. Ideally, this program should train you on clinical work flows, information systems and policies, the ins and outs of health data management, how to create and maintain electronic health records (EHRs), how to adhere to health regulations and laws, basic administrative duties, etc.”
It is required for HIM professionals to stay up-to-date with new or changing government regulations and advances in technology as time goes on. The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and you must be able to evolve along with it.
There are also certifications you can acquire after you’ve gotten your degree. The Registered Health Information Administrator (RHIA) is a certification that verifies your expertise in working with patient health records and data, relevant computer systems, and an understanding of medical terminology. The Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) is for those who specialize in coding, management of computer applications that control patient data, and analysis of that data.
Once you have considered the educational aspect, it’s important to know the type of job duties you will be expected to perform on a day-to-day basis.
- Manage patient health information
This is a key aspect of any HIM professional’s role. The management of patient health information – from lab results to their next appointment – is instrumental in keeping healthcare facilities running smoothly. You must be able to maintain the systems that contain this information, while ensuring it is both secure and also accessible to those who need it.
- Generate, analyze, and disseminate reports
The sheer volume of information contained within an EHR system provides endless value from a data analytics standpoint. As such, you may be expected to compile reports using patient data. These reports can help the doctors, nurses, and support staff function more efficiently and improve processes overall, leading to a better patient experience.
- Maintain patient privacy and security
Not only is maintaining the privacy and security of patient information a critical part of any healthcare facility’s daily objectives, it’s also regulated by the government. According to the HIPAA Journal, “the civil penalty tier system for healthcare organizations is based on the extent to which the HIPAA covered entity was aware that HIPAA Rules were violated. The maximum civil penalty for knowingly violating HIPAA is $50,000 per violation, up to a maximum of $1.5 million per violation category.” In addition, it is possible for individuals to face criminal charges of conspiracy or aiding and abetting if they were aware of the violation at the time it occurred. The importance of maintaining the standards set out by HIPAA cannot be overstated. HIM professionals are expected to retain a working knowledge of these rules and regulations, and keep them at the forefront of their minds when developing systems and working with patient information.
The nuances and complexities involved in a Health Information Professional’s position makes them more than deserving of recognition during HIP week, and throughout the year. Joining the HIM profession is a great career choice for those interested in information management and the patient experience. HIM professionals are and will continue to be an integral part of the healthcare ecosystem, especially as the healthcare industry advances in the years to come.