Like every other field in the world, the healthcare industry evolves with recent discoveries and emerging technologies in order to provide more efficient and advanced services to patients.
Healthcare providers deal with a great amount of the patients’ personal, clinical, legal and financial information in the process of generously contributing towards the wellbeing of the society. To help them manage all this information effectively, a new area of expertise referred to as Health Information Management (HIM) has surfaced in the health industry in recent years that has proved to be greatly beneficial for both healthcare professionals as well as healthcare providers.
What is Health Information Management?
Health Information Management is the application of information management to healthcare. It ensures the availability of accurate clinical information and its protection, which is essential in providing quality healthcare services to patients and facilitating decision-making.
With the passage of time, traditional hospital records have been replaced by electronic health records and this is where the role of health information management professionals comes in. These individuals are responsible for developing information systems that can meet the current and future information needs of healthcare providers. They ensure proper collection, storage, maintenance and use of quality data to meet the information needs of our healthcare system. Having skilled HIM professionals on board ensures the organization has the information it needs whenever it is needed, whilst maintaining data integrity, security, and confidentiality.
Health Information Management draws on concepts from three different fields i.e. medical sciences, business, and information technology. It is divided into two branches: Healthcare Information Technology and Health Informatics, which increases the efficiency of the staff while paving the way for more convenient facilities in the field of medicine.
The introduction of Health Information Management degrees was a much-needed shot in the arm for healthcare providers as it plays a very crucial role in streamlining their information management systems and generating better opportunities for professionals in the health sector. It is one of the most demanded and rewarding fields in the health industry to study today, with substantial earning potential and professional gains. There are a variety of HIM programs being offered by universities, including both Bachelor’s degrees in HIM as well as Post-Baccalaureate Certificates, allowing professionals to choose the qualification that suits them best.
Benefits of Health Information Management Degrees for Healthcare Providers
In the fast-paced technology-driven world that we live in, Health Information Management Degrees are the need of the hour. Here are some of the benefits they offer for Healthcare providers:
Fulfill demand for HIM professionals
Organizations across the world have been investing in Health Information Management departments as a significant tool to improve their healthcare facilities. For this reason, medical professionals with a degree in Health Information Management are welcomed with open arms in numerous regions of the world and offered exceptional job opportunities.
HIM professionals work at hospitals, dental clinics, pharmacies, chiropractors, and private clinics. It is a degree that is highly demanded by all major healthcare providers. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment opportunities for Healthcare Information Management professionals are expected to increase by 11% during the period 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average for other professions.
Provide Essential Information Management Skills
The Health Information Management programs currently being offered by universities are designed to impart knowledge and critical thinking skills to professionals in the field. They are provided the skills to work as part of a team of healthcare professionals in order to improve the organization’s information systems and in turn provide better services to patients.
HIM professionals bring their valuable knowledge and expertise to their place of work. They will help collect and store information about the patients’ symptoms, lab test results, diagnosis along with their ongoing treatment and procedures so that information is readily available when needed, contributing to the effective functioning of the hospital or clinic. Any doctor providing care to the patient can instantly check their previous medical record and provide the best treatment based on their needs.
HIM professionals learn to be proactive and good decision-makers as they have knowledge of other related fields like Information Technology and Business Management, as well as a diverse skill set. They are provided knowledge of coding, management, technology, privacy, security, and data integrity, making them versatile professionals in the healthcare industry.
Provide Guidance About Policies And Regulations
Health Information Management Degrees provide professionals with an understanding of the basic regulations for clinical, financial, and legal practices in the healthcare industry. They can then develop policies and procedures for healthcare providers based on these guidelines. There are certain codes of practice related to hospitals and clinics that every healthcare provider must abide by; therefore, this program provides an insight into the legality of clinical training and records.
Health Information Management programs train medical professionals to make accurate measurements, conduct sound analysis and derive reliable results from the data on hand. These degrees are a great contribution to the healthcare industry as they train healthcare providers to be competent in various tools that lead to increased efficiency of the organization they work for.
HIM professionals are aware of the use of advanced tools and scientific procedures including data analytics and interoperability that they can use for the organization’s benefit. They can examine the current healthcare practices and policies of the organization they work for, and identify if there is any room for improvement.
Significant Potential for Cost-savings
An efficient healthcare information system allows healthcare organizations to make better use of their resources and save money, time and supplies in the process. For instance, if the hospital has detailed record of the admitted patients at a point in time and their specific care requirements, it can compare this against staff data –staff skills and availability can be taken into account so that the most suitable staff member serves each patient, improving overall patient care.
Healthcare information systems also ensure better management of supplies and inventory by recording every purchase, usage and check out. When there is greater check and balance, there will be less wastage and misuse of supplies, resulting in significant cost-savings.
The Bottom Line
As technological progress continues to take place, the importance of Healthcare Information Management is expected to increase with time. HIM professionals are well versed in the latest methods of collecting healthcare information, storing it effectively and protecting it from any form of loss. Their role in maintaining and organizing important information is vital for healthcare organizations to ensure the smooth flow of their operations. For any healthcare provider wishing to improve its information systems, hiring a team of Healthcare Information Management professionals can prove to be a great decision.