The demand to turn data into information, coupled with the increasing prevalence and importance of global standards, makes this an ideal time for HIM professionals to transform their roles, said Rita Scichilone, MHSA, RHIA, CCS, CCS-P, senior advisor global standards at AHIMA.
Scichilone, speaking at the 2013 Annual National Conference of Health Information Management Association Australia, challenged HIM professionals across the globe to embrace an HIM “makeover” to leverage health information to achieve health intelligence.
“Information is our profession’s lifeblood, and we need to manage information so that it’s useful whenever and wherever it’s needed,” said Scichilone. “HIM professionals need to guide their organizations by breaking down the silos where data is stored and combine the relevant information together to help create a complete picture of a patient’s health.”
As the complexity of systems grow, Scichilone said HIM professionals can assist by simplifying and coordinating how the data are managed and their secondary use beyond patient care. “Information governance—the processes, roles, policies, standards, and metrics that ensure the effective and efficient use of information—is central to the mission of HIM,” she said.
A key component of information governance is embracing the standards that are being developed locally, nationally, and internationally to ensure that data are captured consistently across the health care spectrum.
“This is critical to measure quality of care and a way to be accountable both to the health care organization and the patient,” said Scichilone. “HIM professionals are uniquely qualified to lead this effort, and in order to do this, must be actively participating when standards are developed.”
Transforming the role of HIM and embracing standards will make the investment in EHR yield greater returns, and the result will be a full-circle view of each patient’s health care, she said.
“Information governance can help us assure the quality, efficiency, and safety of care, and HIM professionals have the skills to apply these principles,” said Scichilone.