Quality healthcare is not only dependent on the doctors and nurses who attend to your health and medical concerns every time you visit a hospital or a clinic. Aside from the medical personnel that you normally meet during your health checkup, there is an entire workforce who ensures that proper healthcare information is disseminated for accurate treatment and manages medical data and patient records for easy reference and correct filing. This is the health information management (HIM).
If this is the first time you have heard of it, it is better that you understand why health information management is just as vital as the cardiology department or the neonatal unit in our hospitals. We listed 7 things you need to know about what exactly this department is all about:
1. HIM combines clinical, management and IT skills.
Health information managers are responsible for managing health data systems and make sure that they meet the standards of accrediting and regulatory organizations. With a medical background and knowledge in basic information technology systems, HIM professionals can more efficiently encode, process, analyze and report healthcare data needed by the medical staff in performing their duties.
2. HIM is a growing industry and offers a promising career.
The industry has increased four times in the past two years showing great potential for career growth and business revenue, especially with the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector. In Sept. 2012, U.S. News and World Reported told in an article that HIM is among the top nine new college majors with assured job opportunities.
3. HIM assures accurate documentation is followed.
As medical practitioners attend to the medical needs of the patient, HIM attends to the paperwork needed for every medical procedure done such as timely report for patient care, certifications and billing. They make sure that all policies and procedures done for its active and discharged patients are accurately detailed—including medical history and necessary forms used during the medical process. It also handles the proper evaluation and revision of these documentations which is to be approved by the medical staff in charge.
4. HIM educates the hospital staff about its policies, procedures and expectations regarding medical records.
HIM upholds hospital policies and guidelines so that all hospital staff will adhere accordingly to rules applicable to their institution. This also includes other entities that work closely with the hospital such as insurance providers. Without HIM supervising and managing this, quality healthcare might be compromised.
5. HIM uses high-tech systems and equipment.
It is imperative for any hospital to use advanced health information systems which include latest computer gears and up-to-date software programs needed to perform HIM duties well. Therefore, HIM professionals generally work in comfortable and state-of-the-art surroundings.
6. HIM ensures all data and information are safe and protected.
Another vital function of HIM is to safe-keep all records without compromising private information of the patients. HIM professionals are responsible for the confidentiality and protection of any data handled within the course of the medical treatment.
7. HIM works in non-hospital settings as well.
HIM professionals are not only limited to medical institutions. They are also very much needed in consulting firms, government agencies, law firms, correctional facilities, insurance companies, extended care services, IT, medical software companies and even pharmaceutical researches.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of doctors, nurses and patients in the hospital is the health information management department working competently right in the middle of all the action. They serve as the information hub that connects all essential functions in the healthcare field.
With the healthcare system being reformed and enhanced for better medical services and patient-centered care, health information management also modifies itself to provide better service to its clients by handling and transmitting medical information securely.
Two things you can do if this piece of information interests you:
Outsource your Health Information Management.
Many outsourcing companies have started building up core teams that focus on this specific area of expertise. If you’re part of a medical institution, you want accuracy in your documentation on top of providing the utmost healthcare services to your clients / patients.
When you outsource your HIM requirements to companies specializing in this area, you can stop worrying about documentation and billing and start focusing more on providing care to your patients.
Be part of the Health Information Management industry.
If you’re a medical practitioner, or a nurse who is currently unemployed, Health Information Management is an alternative career path for you. HIM is a growing industry. Positions are well compensated, because it requires expertise in both healthcare and IT. In 2012 alone, the revenues for HIM were recorded at $460 million.
You may not face patients like you were taught in school, but you will specialize in unique areas that will give you career growth and security.