3 Tips for HIM Professionals Looking to Advance in the Workplace
A seasoned health information management (HIM) professional with more than 15 years of healthcare leadership experience, Endia Kendrick’s roots run deep in the HIM landscape. Serving as Senior Director in the Solutions Division of Clinical Revenue Integrity for Conifer Health Solutions, her insider perspective offers current and prospective HIM professionals insight into the skillsets that will prepare them to succeed in the rapidly evolving HIM environment.
1. Get to Know Data Governance and Data Analytics
Two key buzzwords floating around the industry and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) community today are data governance and data analytics. While most HIM programs are focused solely on the acute care environment, we’ve seen a shift toward other areas in care delivery. And technology continues accelerate this shift. The emergence of telemedicine and other channels allows interaction with patients from more remote settings is changing the landscape of traditional care environments and generating an influx of data like never before.
The question now lies in how healthcare organizations will manage this vast amount of information and the administration of the data. HIM professionals are well-positioned to fill voids in data governance by structuring parameters and setting consistent rules to drive improvements for the continuity and delivery of quality of care — both direct benefits to the patient.
Also, the ability to review and interpret analytical data is becoming increasingly critical. Academic institutions and AHIMA continue to develop new certifications, degree programs and curricula to further equip, prepare and educate HIM professionals on this emerging topic.
Many HIM professionals are familiar with this skillset. They perform analyses to support organizational initiatives and clinical quality-focused projects using medical record data, especially as technology aids in the exponential growth of data analysis. Today the healthcare industry is faced with the growth of electronic health records, multiple clinical systems and data analysis — all of which impact the entire revenue cycle.
2. Hone Your Management and Communication Skills
The buck doesn’t stop at simply learning data governance and analytics. The HIM workforce is expected to communicate data trends to organizational C-level executives. In today’s world, the HIM professional has to be prepared and better positioned to work with CFOs, CMOs and CIOs to speak on trends, root causes and the impact to the revenue cycle. Most HIM professionals possess this skillset; however, strengthening this competency should be a priority.
Furthermore, with the increased impact of HIM on the quality of care, organizations — such as AHIMA — will increase their focus on collaborating with other organizations like Conifer Health. For example, telemedicine continues to be at the forefront of legislative dialogue within Texas. TxHIMA will work with the Texas legislature to advocate for appropriate telemedicine health-record standards and security.
HIM professionals have begun to collaborate with various entities — such as compliance groups, physician offices and technology companies — to advance the delivery of patient-centered medical care by addressing issues such as cyber security and medical identity theft.
3. Make Friends with Finance
While many HIM professionals have dabbled in the aforementioned areas of management, communications, and data governance and analytics, financial analysis has become a new competency for many. HIM professionals are increasingly being called upon to provide return-on-investment (ROI) statistics, perform analysis of staffing models and deliver financial numbers and budget analyses associated with root cause and variance. This is another valuable asset to provide decision-makers regarding care-delivery quality in a cost-efficient healthcare system.