3 Tips for HIM Professionals to Advance in the Workforce

A seasoned health information management (HIM) professional with more than 20 years of healthcare leadership experience, Richard LeBoutillier’s roots run deep in the HIM landscape. Serving as Director of Clinical Revenue Integrity at Conifer Health and Board Member of the Texas Health Information Management Association (TxHIMA), Rich’s insider perspective offers current and prospective HIM professionals insight into the skillsets that will prepare you to succeed in the rapidly evolving HIM environment.

1. Get to know data governance and data analytics

Two key buzzwords floating around the industry and AHIMA community today are data governance and data analytics. While most HIM programs are focused entirely on the acute care environment, we’ve seen a shift toward other areas in care delivery. And technology is accelerating this shift. The emergence of telemedicine and other channels allowing interaction with patients from more remote settings is changing the landscape of traditional care settings and generating an influx of data like never before. The question now lies in how healthcare organizations are going to manage this vast amount of information and, specifically, how they will administer the data. HIM professionals are well positioned to fill voids in data governance by structuring parameters and setting consistent rules to drive quality of care and care continuity — both direct benefits to the patient.

Also, the ability to look at and understand analytics is becoming very critical. Academic institutions and AHIMA are now developing new certification and degree programs and curricula to further equip, prepare and educate their HIM professionals on this emerging topic. Many in the HIM profession are familiar with this skillset as they perform analyses to support medical research and internal projects within their facilities using medical record data. And again, technology has caused the need for data analysis to exponentially grow. Today we are faced with multiple systems, the growth of electronic health records, and the need to look at everything from data and clinical documentation improvement to coding and HIM operations, along with how that data really impacts the revenue cycle, the facility as a whole and the patient experience.

2. Hone your management and communication skills

The buck won’t stop at data governance and analysis. Those in the HIM workforce will be expected to communicate data trends to their organization’s C-level executives. In today’s world, the HIM professional has to be prepared and better positioned to work with CFOs, CMOs and CIOs to speak on trends, root causes and their impact. Most HIM professionals already carry this skillset, but they’ll need to focus on strengthening this competency.

Furthermore with the increased impact of HIM on quality of care, organizations, such as AHIMA, will increase their focus on collaborating with other organizations. For example, telemedicine continues to be at the forefront of legislative dialogue within Texas. TxHIMA will work with Texas legislature to advocate for appropriate telemedicine health record standards and security. HIM professionals will increasingly collaborate with various entities, such as compliance groups, physician offices and technology companies, to advance the delivery of patient-centered medical care and address issues including cyber security and medical identity theft.

3. Make friends with finance

While many HIM professionals have dabbled in the aforementioned areas of management, communications and data governance and analytics, financial analysis will become a new competency for many. HIM professionals are increasingly being called upon to provide return on investment statistics, perform analysis of staffing models, present financial numbers and budget analysis, and deliver root cause and variance analysis. This will be another valuable asset to provide decision-makers about care delivery quality and a more cost-efficient healthcare system.

Conifer Health offers a comprehensive range of HIM solutions that together can help align your organization for success in reducing costs and maintaining quality of patient care. Click Let’s Talk to learn more or to give us feedback on this topic.