Sunday, February 15, 2015

A New Year’s Resolution for Health Information Management

Brooke Palkie
The December 10th 2014 publication of the article Missed Opportunities? The Labor Market in Health Informatics verifies what many of us in HIM have predicted – a healthcare industry still not fully understanding HIM skill sets. The article identifies a current shortage of health informatics professionals due to several technical changes within healthcare. The article points to the EHR, “big data”, and new regulations as the fundamental changes that have re-shaped the roles involved with the collection, handling, and processing of protected health information (PHI). However, these roles have been at the core of the HIM profession for many years. Although the article acknowledges the functions historically held by HIM professionals, one blaring misinterpretation is made of the newly required hybrid skills of health informatics. In one instance the article identifies a clinical analyst role as a combination of an RN and an IT technician. Although there is most certainly an increase in the complexity of the newly emerging informatics positions, the HIM professional is already strategically aligned with the healthcare knowledge to successfully fill these identified gaps. So how do we do this you ask? Educate, educate, educate! We must continue to join forces to properly articulate the skills and qualifications possessed by the broad range of HIM professionals. More importantly, we must continue to improve our skills to align our qualifications with industry needs. For educational institutions, we must provide opportunities for professionals to build on current credentials to promote job advancement.  On the other hand, HIM professionals must be committed to meeting this demand by seeking out educational and career advancement pathways. We must not take a back seat to this job shortage dilemma. Let this be the year to leverage the health informatics opportunities! 

May the New Year bring you health, happiness and success! 

Brooke Palkie
Associate Professor, HIIM
The College of St. Scholastica

Missed Opportunities? The Labor Market in Health Informatics
December 10, 2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Band on the Run!

Madonna LeBlanc
While the CSS HIIM department attended AHIMA’s 86th Convention and Exhibition, Paul McCarthy performed in San Diego at PetCo Park and the song ‘Band on the Run’ surfaced on my mental playlist. Once I plotted what we did, where we went and who we’d seen, the song became a veritable anthem for four action-packed days of excitement.

Sunday found me, along with the MHIMA delegation’s CSS alums Laura Blabac, Kristi Lundgren, Jean MacDonell and Christina Wallner, in the House of Delegates. Among other topics, one particular focus was ICD-10, using Twitter and Facebook to connect with Washington legislators and to engage others to join us in the AHIMA #ICD10Matters campaign en masse; the room was rumbling with energy.

Sunday also was a full slate of CSS faculty and alum team speaking engagements: Ryan Sandefer and Katie Kerr; David Marc and alum Megan Munns and Beth Just; Ryan and Ellen Shakespeare. And Sunday’s trifecta had our second AHIMA Student Advisory Council student representative, Kate Gray, presenting at the Student Academy. Kudos to all!

Monday’s 2014 TriumphAwards were exhilarating as multiple CSS alums received recognition: Megan Munns, RHIA, Rising Star Award; Dr. Joanne Valerius, MPH, RHIA, Educator Award; Patricia Shaw, MEd, RHIA, FAHIMA, Literacy Legacy Award and Susan Scully, MS, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, Mentor Award. Brava, brava to all! “Medical advances in in technology” was renowned cardiologist, geneticist and researcher Eric Topol’s fascinating keynote address.  Several faculty attended the Assembly on Education/Workforce luncheon regarding strategies for teaching our students the soft (human) skills that prepare them for success in the work place. The evening had us gathered with over one hundred CSS alumni at our reception with School of Health Science Dean Dr. Ron Berkeland, and Lisa Roseth, Executive Director, Alumni Relations. Vicki Zeman was recognized for her years of service to the HIIM department as she prepares to retire at the academic year’s end. One highlight of the event was San Diego HIM MS alumni Connie Rendas’ inspirational story she shared of her intention of “just getting an online degree” and leaving CSS with that, plus a treasured relationship with members of the Monastery. She ended her witness with a generous contribution to the department and encouraged others to join her gifting. Connie returns to campus multiple times a year simply to bask in Benedictine hospitality and visit her fans.  The HIM undergraduate seniors were introduced and warmly received as well.

Tuesday evening, HIM graduate student, John Mashiklan, received his award from the AHIMA Foundation for the 2014 National Convention e-Poster Contest; his poster theme was ‘Web Database Design with EHR integration for Hospital Hospitality House.’ Congratulations, John! We ended the evening with the Appreciation Celebration at PetCo Park featuring KC and the Sunshine Band and a 70’s theme, complete with beautiful weather.

Wednesday, Janelle and I were able to hear CSS alums present in their areas of expertise. Cheryl Stephens discussed the impact of HIEs on public health and Rita Bowen and Alisha Smith’s EHRs and information governance.  No doubt there were more CSS alumni on the speaker roster for the convention that are not listed here; there’s regrettably never enough time to take in all there is to do, see and hear. At the convention closing, Rob Lowe shared his moving story of why he stepped up to be the first male representative for the Stand Up to Breast Cancer having lost his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to the disease.

Next year the festivities commence in New Orleans…I’ve already got ‘When the Saints Come Marching In!’ in my mind’s eye, complete with a meandering jazz band in tow. Calling all Saints; see you there!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Leadership Development - Arizona Campus

Pam Oachs
On September 22-23, 2014, the first educational workshop was held at College of St. Scholastica’s Arizona campus. Merida L. Johns, PhD, RHIA held a Leadership Development Program for area healthcare leaders. The workshop was titled, Be the Leader You Are Meant to Be: Are You Up for the Challenge?  Dr. Johns is the founder of The Monarch Center for Women’s Leadership Development, and she hosted a group of 20 health information management (HIM) professionals. This workshop focused on the Leadership Development model developed by Dr. Johns and can be found at

AHIMA’s Reality 2016 initiative encourages the HIM professional to lead, evolve and grow through continued education and professional development.  Stay tuned for more events at the Arizona Campus and all St. Scholastica sites.