you interested in?
Take five minutes of brainstorming time to jot down any topic ideas that come to mind, without overthinking it, and without judging your ideas. Use that list to find books and articles
related to some of those topics. Is there a particular aspect of
the topic that piques your interest? Is there a gap in the literature that your contribution could address?
Talk to friends and colleagues about your ideas. They can often provide a perspective you haven’t thought of or may even
be able to help you with your topic. As you learn more about
each topic, continue to refine your ideas so they are manageable. The more you read and talk about your topic, the easier
that will be. The most important thing is to pursue a topic you
are interested in. Writing about something you are passionate
about makes the process much more enjoyable and culminates in a better end product.
Collaborate When You Can
Publishing is a great opportunity to collaborate with other
professionals, both within and outside of the HIM discipline. As you are exploring topic ideas, consider colleagues
at your organization or other professionals you have worked
well with that could serve as co-authors. Perhaps the HIT/
HIM program at a local college is looking for opportunities
for their faculty or students to collaborate with practicing
professionals. Sometimes undertaking a research and writing project with a partner can make it more manageable, not
to mention the valuable networking opportunities that may
arise through the partnership.
Once you have chosen your topic, you’ll want to conduct a
more structured review of the literature and resources that exist to ensure there is enough information available to support
you in your topic choice. Think about where you can access the
resources you need, such as the library at your organization,
online databases, AHIMA’s HIM Body of Knowledge (bok.ahi-
ma.org), or even the local library.
Again, make sure you’re talking to people about your project,
particularly if you need data and resources from your organization or others. Express the importance of your project and
what it can contribute to the organization, the HIM profession,
Begin the Research, Start Writing
Now that you’ve chosen your topic, identified your resources,
and obtained support for your project, you are ready to begin
the research for your publication. The main activities at this
point are reading, obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB)
approval (if necessary), collecting/analyzing data, and writing.
Continue exploring the resources you identified and read as
much as you can about your topic. Take notes and organize
your thoughts to begin the writing process. You may also be-
gin collecting your data if necessary. If you plan on publish-
ing a research article that involves human subjects, approval
from an IRB will be required. This must be determined before
your research begins, so be sure to factor that step into your
process. Once your research is complete, is it is time to start
Publishing Helps HIM Stand Out
HIM professionals, it is time for action. Look to the traits of
the chameleon, but instead of changing color to camouflage,
change your colors to vibrant hues that no one can ignore. Use
your adaptability to stand out, display your skills, and tout
your knowledge—then publish your work.
It is critical that HIM professionals use their skills to survey
the landscape to detect threats. HIM professionals must use
their capacity and agility to obtain resources and opportunities, and must acknowledge that what HIM professionals do—
how we are making an impact that is meaningful within the
HIM profession and also for the industry at large—is vital to the
future of healthcare. Historically, HIM professionals have used
their camouflage skills to adapt to rapidly changing environments largely unnoticed. Moving forward, HIM professionals
need to draw upon this chameleon-like attribute to draw attention to themselves and the entire HIM profession. ¢
1. Butler, Mary. “Adapt or Disappear: AHIMA’s Reality 2016
has a New Mission to Transform the HIM Workforce
through Education—or Else.” Journal of AHIMA 85, no. 5
(May 2014): 24-29. http://bok.ahima.org/doc?oid=300443.
3. Mancini, Mark. “ 10 Colorful Facts About Chameleons.”
MentalFloss.Se ptember 23, 2016.ht tp://mentalfloss.
4. AHIMA. “Code of Ethics.” October 2, 2011.ht tp://bok.
Ryan Sandefer ( email@example.com) is assistant vice president for academic
affairs and associate professor, and Amy Watters ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is associate professor and HIM graduate program director at the College of St.
Quiz ID: Q1929001 | EXPIRATION DATE: JANUARY 1, 2020
HIM Domain Area: Management Development
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