Health Information Management 2025
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See Part III of Current "Health IT Revolution" Drastically Changes HIM in The Near Future” Permission Granted To Reprint and Distribute By AHIMA Publishing.
Current "Health IT Revolution" Drastically Changes HIM in the Near Future (Part III)
Today's HIM education models must change now to keep up with the rapidly evolving landscape of tomorrow's HIM field.
By Chris Dimick
Enterprise Information Management Grows
HIM professionals will be embedded and distributed in places like revenue cycle management, information technology, EHR data management and user support, quality management, compliance, HIE division, and clinical documentation improvement areas, Kloss says.
This will be a shift from health information management in its traditional form to what Kloss' paper calls "enterprise information management."
"We need to think about health information management as a set of functions that go on throughout the organization," Kloss says. "I see coding and revenue cycle as information management functions… but the functions have to be carried out closer to where the information resides and where the business processes that use that information are."
For example, a HIM professional could be in a managerial role directing information management processes within a facility's revenue cycle department. This HIM manager would specialize in ensuring that information is used appropriately in revenue cycle operations, that the department operates in compliance, that data are accurate, and that information is being used optimally, Kloss says.
The roles HIM directors play—regulatory expert, information maverick, release of information specialist, patient privacy custodian, and governance and data management specialist—will always be needed in a managerial capacity, Haugen believes. But that capacity might not be called HIM director or housed in an HIM department in 2025.
"Those components are getting more and more complex, more to manage and we are under more regulatory scrutiny than we have ever been," Haugen says, "so I don't know how an organization could do it without having that (HIM manager) skill."
Likely the widespread use of the EHR in the near future will grow demand for HIM functions and skills not decrease them, Haugen says.
Changes to the HIM Professional
Moving HIM professionals out of the HIM department and into various places within healthcare facilities will ensure HIM skills are best utilized in all essential areas, Kloss says. But this change will not just impact the HIM department—it will affect the HIM professional directly as well.
"We are just too siloed in the view of information management," Kloss says. "We have to look at it as a set of functions that thread throughout the organization, and they need to be managed by someone with skills and competencies in information management as a distinct role."
That doesn't mean that the "management" aspect of HIM will go away. An enterprise information management initiative would still need a senior management professional overseeing policies and processes, ensuring people are trained and new technologies are introduced.
This shift has already begun in some facilities with talented HIM managers moving from a department role to an enterprise HIM corporate role, Kloss says.
HIM will transfer from a defined job role in the HIM department into a set of fundamental skills and competencies that are necessary to leverage and use information throughout a healthcare facility, Haugen says. HIM's core responsibilities such as record custodianship, privacy and security, and ensuring "we provide the right information to the right people for patient care" will always be needed, Haugen says.
"However, how we will perform that and how we are educated to do those tasks I think will be very different," she says. "It is up to us to be very aggressive in shaping that future."
HIM professionals need to remain the experts on viewing, retaining, and accessing health information in the digital age, Haugen says.
Chris Dimick (firstname.lastname@example.org) is editor-in-chief of the Journal of AHIMA.
Dimick, Chris. "Health 2025 Information Management: Current “Health IT Revolution” Drastically Changes HIM in The Near Future." Journal of AHIMA 83, no.8 (August 2012): 24-31.
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