National HIM Week: Putting Health Information to Work with Care
“Health information management (HIM) professionals’ roles in the health care industry are greater and more diverse than ever,” American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) President Margaret M. Stewart, RRA, said. “AHIMA members should use HIM Week to call attention to these roles and to their significant contributions to patient care and the bottom line.”
The roles to which Stewart is referring include managing data quality, fraud and abuse compliance, information security, and the implementation of Health Insur-ance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) administrative simplification provisions. In addition to growth in these and other roles, an increasing number of HIM professionals are finding opportunities in nontraditional health care settings, such as managed care, ambulatory care and long-term care.
“HIM Week is a great time to send our message to managers and colleagues in these nontraditional health care settings,” Stewart suggested.
To help HIM professionals plan meaningful HIM Week activities, AHIMA has developed a free planning packet that includes a fact sheet, event ideas, information about commemorative merchandise and a press release. For more information or to request a free packet, call (312) 787-2672 or visit the AHIMA web site at www.ahima.org.
AHIMA Makes Public Its Position on Health Information Confidentiality
Growing national concern about patient privacy is the catalyst for federal health information confidentiality legislation introduced recently in Congress. It’s also the catalyst for new rules from the Clinton Administration that protect Medicare patients’ privacy. Given the collected background and experience of its 38,000 members, who deal with hundreds of thousands of patient records each day, AHIMA developed a white paper titled, Confidentiality of Medical Records: Situation Analysis and AHIMA’s Position.
The white paper includes an overview of the current state of health information confidentiality and AHIMA’s position on the issue. It also includes a detailed diagram of how medical records flow to points inside and outside the health care industry.
AHIMA is sending the white paper to newspapers, members of Congress and health care industry publications across the nation. Copies also are available on the AHIMA web site, which is located at www.ahima.org. From the home page, follow links to “professional support,” “current issues,” and then to Confidentiality of Medical Records: Situation Analysis and AHIMA’s Position. Members also can re-quest copies by calling AHIMA at (312) 787-2672.
Job Outlook for Health Information Technicians Looks Bright
According to a 1998 U.S. Department of Labor Bureau Statistics report, “health information technology (HIT) is one of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the United States.” The report, titled “Health Technologists and Technicians,” stated that HITs, who are responsible for managing and analyzing patient records and other health information, held about 87,000 jobs in 1996 (the largest individual portion work in hospitals). Demand for HITs is expected to outpace the average growth for all occupations through the year 2006.
Employment opportunities for HITs are expected to grow most rapidly in physicians’ offices and home health care agencies. Other settings in which the industry will see an increased need for HITs are in-surance, accounting and law firms that handle health matters, according to the report.
ADVANCE for Health Information
Professionals serves the members of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Each issue features AHIMA News Network, published as a special supplement within ADVANCE to provide timely information on national issues and AHIMA events.
HIM Week is scheduled for November 1 through 7. This year’s theme is “Putting health information to work with care.” Order your free HIM Week planning packet by calling AHIMA at (312) 787-2672. Look for more information on the AHIMA web site, located at www.ahima .org.