A Word from HIM…

As a 10 year resident of Southwest Florida, I can now profess, Florida has succumbed to enough hurricanes during the last two seasons to last me a lifetime.

Instead of complaining about our individual hardships during the recuperation period, let’s stop and recognize a unity that was created between us all. Take a moment to reflect upon the ancillary of people that provided their time and hard work to help put us back together. Day after day I witnessed convoys of electrical municipality trucks, from as far away as Canada, Texas, just to name a few, heading south spending endless hours restoring our electricity. Red Cross workers, roofers, plumbers, contractors of all kinds, coming to our aid. Let’s also look at the plethora of healthcare workers enduring long shifts at Florida hospitals. Physicians’, nursing staff, technicians, were remaining attentive to high demands for our patients’ care-both seasonal and permanent residents.

Health information management professionals helped them obtain an often forgotten vital resource, your medical record information. Obtaining your health information from near or afar in order to aid in the quick response for our physicians to make important healthcare decisions about you. Health information is a vital resource to you and the doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who provide your treatment and care. It is the role of health information management (HIM) professionals to ensure your health record is complete, accurate, and available when needed most. November 6 through 12 is Health Information Management and Technology Week. This annual event recognizes the work of those professionals who manage patient health information.

“As the healthcare industry moves further into the information age, the role of the HIM professional is becoming even more critical,” stated American Health Information Management Association President (AHIMA) Mervat Abdelhak, PhD, RHIA. “The move from paper to electronic health records will help doctors make important healthcare decisions on a real-time basis, but these decisions will rely on secure access to clear, concise, accurate, and easy-to-understand information.” The Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) Executive Director and College Registrar Gail Crook, CCHRA, CHE, agrees and goes on to say “Nationally, data are used for evaluation of outcomes, grouping of data, healthcare planning, manpower planning, monitoring trends, morbidity and mortality reporting, and patient safety—all critical elements in managing healthcare services today.”

HIM professionals are responsible for the collection, storage, coding, processing, analysis, interpretation, application, privacy, and sharing of information for a wide range of purposes in healthcare settings. Today, HIM professionals are increasingly performing tasks using emerging technology and helping healthcare professionals’ access information they need to help support clinical decision-making, research, financial management and your own health record management. The fast-paced changes in technology have accelerated the demand for HIM professionals. “The goal of the HIM profession is to provide quality information to improve the quality of healthcare received,” adds Abdelhak. “HI&T Week is an opportunity to learn more about the role these professionals play in the healthcare system, as well as recognize and celebrate their contributions to patient care, public health, and the bottom line.”

The fast-paced changes in technology have accelerated the demand for HIM professionals. The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 49 percent growth in the number of HIM workers by 2010, making HIM one of the nation’s fastest –growing health occupations. The Department of Human Resources and Skills Development (HRSD) in Canada has been approached to define the national shortage of HIM professionals. The field currently offers nearly 40 different work settings ranging from hospitals and physician offices to education institutions and technology companies.

As the President of the Southwest Florida HIM Association, I proudly work to uphold my contribution in a profession I firmly believe in. This is a profession for anyone, like me, that needed a change from the clinical workforce. I must also admit, however, I am also anxious to bid ado to hurricane season for a while and have football season, the holiday seasons and even golf season restored to normal down here.

HI & T Week is sponsored by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA).

AHIMA is the premier association for health information management (HIM) and allied healthcare professionals. These professionals manage, protect, and utilize complex personal health information for the delivery of quality healthcare to the public. Founded in 1928 to improve the quality of medical records, AHIMA fosters the career growth of its 50,000 members through leadership in advocacy, education, certification, and lifelong learning.

For more information about our associations’, please visit
www.ahima.org The American Health Information Management Association
www.fhima.orgThe Florida Health Information Management Association

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