Eight Predictions for ’ 18
Numerology is the mystical belief that certain
combinations and sequences detected in sets
of numbers have predictive powers. Birth-dates are particularly potent for numerologists, as that set of numbers can help foresee one’s life path. 1
Believers in numerology use dates and numbers to decide, for
example, what day to get married, buy a house, and other major life decisions.
Health data analysts are perhaps the closest thing in the
healthcare industry to being numerologists (of course a big difference, healthcare is founded on science, not mysticism). Data
analysts are skilled at drilling down into the detail of data—
whether it’s gathered from electronic health records (EHRs), the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), state reg-istries, or other sources—and then finding ways to visually represent it and tell a story with it, says Lesley Kadlec, MA, RHIA,
CHDA, director of HIM practice excellence at AHIMA.
It doesn’t take a numerologist to predict that healthcare data
analysts will have their work cut out for them in 2018 as demand
for analytics services and projects increases in the industry.
Kadlec says more HIM professionals are seeing the writing on
the wall and are getting trained and credentialed in data analytics, and there is more of an understanding of the difference
between informatics and data analytics.
Practicing data analysts will be busy in 2018 helping providers participate in new payment models and revenue initiatives,
“In pay for performance, data analytics can help organizations make effective use of operational and technical resources, can assist with decisions on mergers and acquisitions, and
help identify opportunities for new services in the community,”
The regulatory reporting requirements that come with MACRA and other initiatives will keep analysts on their toes. “These
change constantly and data analysts are needed to evaluate the
changes and look at how the organization is collecting data to ensure it can be captured and reported when needed,” Kadlec adds.
In the practice of reading tea leaves, aka “
tas-seography,” the person doing the fortune telling
is referred to as the “oracle” or the “seer” while
the person whose fortune is being read is the
“sitter.” The sitter drinks a cup of tea brewed with loose leaves
until the cup is left with a small amount of water and leaves,
which are then swished around the cup by the seer, who looks
for patterns and symbols in the formations of leaves scattered
around the inside of the cup. The seer gains insight about the
sitter’s life through interpretation of the symbols, according to
the Tea Association of the U.S.A.
Healthcare informaticists likewise look for patterns in health
IT systems and devices to help them run more efficiently. For
instance, informatics professionals often have the responsibility of making EHR workflows less tedious. When done properly
with the help of data analysts, these tools can help predict things
such as hospital readmissions and identify disease outbreaks.
AHIMA is making a concerted effort in 2018 to draw a broader
distinction between data analytics and informatics, which frequently get lumped together. There are two separate websites
for informatics and data analytics on AHIMA.org, and there will
be a new Informatics Practice Council in 2018, as well as a separate Engage community for informatics.
Patty Buttner, RHIA, CDIP, CHDA, CPHI, a director of HIM
practice excellence at AHIMA, says challenges for informaticists
in the coming year will be helping to mitigate physician burnout
with EHRs, protecting patient-generated data in mobile apps,
and developing interfaces and dashboards for telehealth services. Informatics-minded HIM professionals can help with physician EHR burnout by considering the provider workflow and
processes, and discussing ways to improve and streamline that
process while still capturing accurate and complete healthcare
data with providers.
“Being involved in the creation of ‘short’ or ‘pick’ lists in the
EHR may help to decrease time spent on clicking and scrolling
in the EHR. Natural language processing can be implemented
as well to help reduce the need to key information into the
EHR,” Buttner says.