Health information professionals – are we there yet? I suggest that we are not there…not yet. But what is the final destination? When I was a CSS student over 20 years ago (okay, maybe a little more than 20), I remember the very forward thinking, innovative faculty in the HIM program encouraging us as students to get out there! “Get to the table! Healthcare is transitioning to the electronic health record and this can’t happen without HIM professionals leading the way!! Don’t hesitate – get out there!” So we did! The EHR took a little longer to come around than anticipated, but it has arrived for most of us. Are we as HIM professionals there to help lead the way? Sure! Maybe not everywhere we want to be and maybe not until we are sorely missed when important areas of health information management are forgotten, but sure – we are out there doing our best to ensure secure and private health information; accurate and proper documentation for correct billing, reimbursement, and reporting; well-designed EHR systems; properly trained health professionals; compliance; and more.
So we are there then? I don’t think so. We have done a lot, but there is so much more yet to do. Healthcare continues to evolve and change, and then change further. We are now using the long anticipated EHR, but we still have challenges. What will we do with all of this data? How can we use it to improve the quality and decrease the cost of healthcare? How will we get information out of the EHR? How will we keep it secure? How will we ensure that it is governed in an organized, effective, and compliant manner? How will we help healthcare organizations meet all the regulations required of them? No, we are not there yet. We have not arrived at a final destination. As HIM professionals, our biggest challenges are yet to come.
My colleague, Amy Watters, recently wrote a blog on mindset. Are we, as HIM professionals, of the mindset that we can and will continue to be leaders implementing needed change and taking on the many challenges of healthcare innovation? I have been participating in a work group looking at how learning works. One of the principles being explored is how one’s prior knowledge can help or hinder learning and how important it is to make the connections between previous and new knowledge (Ambrose, Bridges, Lovett, DePietro, & Norman, 2010). It makes me think about the last 20+ years and how much I have built upon the HIM foundation that I learned in the classroom, how I have applied my work experience to that foundation, and how I still am not done. I continue to take classes and continue to bring that knowledge to my work, and there is more change. I participate in conferences, MOOCs, workgroups, projects, training…and yet there is more to learn. There is HIPAA and Big Data and Meaningful Use and ICD-10 and Patient Portals and Telehealth….and more. HIM professionals have the foundational skills, knowledge, and experience that allow us to continue to learn new things, be creative and strategic, and continue to lead!
Are we there yet? I don’t think so. But isn’t the HIM profession one of the greatest journeys to be on as we try to reach a final destination?
Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., Lovett, M. C., DiPietro, M., & Normal, M. K. (2010). How learning works: 7 research-based principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey – Bass.
Watters, A. (2014, September 3). Grow your mindset [blog]. Retrieved from http://css-hiim.blogspot.com/