Ensuring HIM’s Future
Technology Skills Required in New Era of e-HIM
By Rose T. Dunn, MBA, CPA, RHIA, FACHE, FAHIMA, interim AHIMA CEO
OUR WORKFORCE, like our population,
is aging. Because of the dip in births following the Baby Boomer generation, we
are facing shortages. The demographics
of our workforce and the impact of the
economy have created a unique environment wherein our coworkers may span
from the Silent Generation to the Echo
With the growing pace of EHR implementations, our diverse workforce will
need a diverse set of skills to succeed in
a virtual work environment.
Technology Skills Required
As we look to the future HIM staff will
need technology skills. While some may
need advanced degrees to perform certain roles, we all will need to be proficient
and comfortable with technology.
Release of information staff will need to
know where to find documentation in the
myriad reporting systems that any healthcare entity may have. The challenge will
be ensuring that the appropriate reporting system is selected and the documentation selected represents the “final” authenticated version.
Analysts may need to assess documentation in a variety of systems to ensure
that each of the required components
has been created and authenticated. In
an EHR environment, it is possible for a
segment of documentation to be missed.
Hence, HIM must define the source systems, the characteristics of digital documentation, and the requirements for staff.
Unfortunately, EHR vendors and health-
care facility management, including IT, err
by not including HIM professionals in the
design of EHR systems, defining work-
flows, and implementing EHR systems.
Hence, HIM must address the documen-
tation voids after discharge and call upon
clinicians to recall information about
the patient to ensure that the encounter
meets the requirements for the organiza-
tion’s legal health record.
Ensuring Your Future
There are endless examples of how the
EHR will impact HIM staffs. But changing
from paper to an electronic environment
requires more than entering a user name
Understanding the entire system and
being able to efficiently navigate through
the many system applications to find
what is needed and validate the information requires a whole new skill set. In
addition, for HIM directors, understanding both clinical and HIM staff workflows
requires an even broader understanding
of behaviors and technology skills, including template development, database
development, and data mining.
This Labor Day, make a resolution to
seek ways to enhance your workforce’s
skills as well as your own to ensure your
team has a future in this soon-to-be virtual environment. ¢