Questions on Trends / Issues Impacting HIM Professionals
1. What are the biggest HIM challenges professionals are facing right now?
Among the top would be the continuing challenge of doing more with less… this goes from coding to record integrity issues. For coding, yes technology partnered with HIM regarding standard terminology/data collection processes so that computer assisted coding (CAC) could be applied is essential. Also continued record integrity issues are top of mind throughout an organization as more and more individuals have direct impact in the selecting of the correct patient from the EMPI and the responsibility of entering quality information into the patient’s health record. Technology deployed to detect record integrity issues and/or stopping the incorrect merger of patient’s medical record at point of selection from the EMPI would be a wonderful assistance. Also a top meaningful use factor will be moving the appropriate portions of the patient’s legal health record to the patient’s portal for the patient’s direct access and management of who this information is shared with.
2. How does IT play into solving these challenges?
IT is just the tool, it has to be partnered with the HIM Professional’s knowledge of how information is to be used and shared so that it can be appropriately applied in order to achieve meaningful use success factors.
3. Do you feel that providers, and HIM professionals in particular, are looking to form ACOs in the near future, or are they concentrating on other projects right now?
ACO’s would be project that is bigger than HIM… but if the organization has elected to pursue this… then HIM would be central in the effort.
4. How aware do you feel HIM professionals are when it comes to exchanging PHI within an ACO? Are they aware of the compliance/HIPAA protocols necessary to securely transmit this information?
HIM professionals who are managing the data exchange and/or the Enterprise Director’s or VPs are aware of the challenges and the regulatory requirements.
5. How do you see this part of the industry reacting to the ongoing OCR audits, and the expected release of final HIPAA rules? Are they being proactive enough?
No, many organizations are still in the normal course of business train of mind… until the audits become more wide spread and teeth apply a bite by either fines applied and/or publication of issues that could damage a facility’s reputation… the overall population within the organization (including system management within unique/special departments) …are not fully aware of the impact. If the awareness was more wide spread …we would see more effort towards full Data Governance.
6. Will the final SCOTUS ruling on healthcare reform have any impact on HIM professionals?
It could depending on the outcome of requirements regarding data that may be shared, payments, etc.. (see #1 above)
7. What are the biggest challenges HIM professionals face when it comes to working with vendors?
Too often the sales and operations are too far removed… thus the sale is anything that you want just to make the sale and operations cannot deliver.. or put another way.. often a product is “vapor ware” and cannot be delivered. It takes effort to really know your vendor and homework to select the best partner to meet the needs of your organization.
8. How are HIM roles evolving as facilities move through the various stages of Meaningful Use?
One particular role is the manager of the patient portal. Also Data Governance (DG) provides a central role for HIM leadership… and an organization cannot move forward with true MU achievement unless the issues of DG are addressed and plans in place to continue assurance of patient data integrity.
9. What role will HIM play in effectively participating in HIEs?
HIM can have various roles within an HIE…from the initial planning stages in setting the data governance/sharing rules. Helping to define data elements to be shared, then mapping that data to assure that A = A, etc.. Also, HIM is central to building and managing the ongoing information privacy and security rules that must be applied.