By Kiwi Health
Published: Sep 2, 2023
In the dynamic world of healthcare, Health Information Management (HIM) has emerged as a critical component. HIM is a discipline that focuses on managing health information systems, ensuring the quality, accuracy, accessibility, and security of patient data.
This comprehensive article will explore the various facets of HIM, its significance in the current healthcare scenario, and how it is shaping the future of healthcare.
Health Information Management (HIM) is a practice that organizes and manages health data to enhance the quality of care. It aims to make the right health content accessible whenever required, ensuring its high quality and security.
The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) identifies five functional areas covered by HIM:
In the context of HIM, it’s essential to differentiate between data and information. Data signifies unprocessed facts and numbers, whereas health information (HI) represents the insightful knowledge derived from organizing and interpreting this raw data into a comprehensible format.
For example, individual data points such as “120/80 blood pressure,” “20 years,” “10/12/21,” and “John Snow” are merely isolated facts. However, when these elements are combined into a statement like “On October 12, 2021, 20-year-old John Snow had a blood pressure reading of 120/80,” they become valuable information. This patient information aids in patient care and is beneficial to both healthcare professionals and patients.
This distinction is crucial in understanding the role of HIM in transforming raw data into actionable information.
Health Information heavily relies on healthcare terminology standards or codes, representing core medical concepts. These industry-specific vocabularies help avoid miscommunications and ambiguity in records. Some of the most widespread coding systems include:
These coding systems play a crucial role in ensuring the accuracy and consistency of health information, which is vital for effective patient care and health research.
Health Information Systems (HISs) capture, store, and manage medical information. These systems play a crucial role in the delivery of healthcare services.
The electronic health record (EHR) system, which manages crucial data about patients and their treatment progression, is the central component of the entire health information infrastructure. Other widely-spread HISs include:
For communication, HISs rely on data exchange standards such as ASC X12, HL7 v2 and v2 messages, and FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources).
These standards facilitate the smooth exchange of information, enabling physicians to build a complete picture of a patient’s health.
They ensure that health information can be shared and understood across different systems and platforms, which is crucial for coordinated and integrated care.
Data quality management is a crucial aspect of HIM. It involves the application, collection, warehousing, and analysis of data. AHIMA has introduced a data quality management model that defines ten quality attributes to be applied across these dimensions. These attributes include:
These attributes are essential for ensuring the quality of health data, which in turn affects the quality of patient care and health research.
A Master Patient Index (MPI) is a database that liaises documents related to the same individual within a HIS. It guarantees the accurate identification of patients throughout the care process, acting as the sole reliable reference for all Health Information Systems within the network.
The MPI plays a crucial role in ensuring the accuracy and consistency of patient data, which is vital for effective patient care and health research.
Healthcare database management is another vital aspect of Health Information Management (HIM). It encompasses the capacity to generate, alter, safeguard, access, and erase data within a specific repository.
Contemporary databases are typically governed through a Database Management System (DBMS), which acts as an intermediary between the data and the applications that utilize it. This process employs a range of technologies and methodologies to oversee the storage, recovery, and modification of data within a database.
Security management is a significant aspect of HIM. It outlines multiple security domains that create a basis for the utmost level of data protection across the organization. These domains include:
These domains are essential for ensuring the security of health data, which is crucial for maintaining patient trust and complying with legal and regulatory requirements.
Health Information Managers play a crucial role in the management of health information. They develop processes to enhance the quality of documentation, prepare data for further analysis, take part in managing and maintaining databases, and design privacy and security protection policies.
They require a comprehensive understanding of areas such as system design, information security, legislation, quality control, data analytics, and many other disciplines. Their role is vital in ensuring the effective management of health information, which in turn affects the quality of patient care and health research.
The future of HIM is expanding toward Big Data and analytics. With the increasing amount of health data being generated, the need for sophisticated data management and analysis tools is more significant than ever.
This expansion will require the expertise of Big Data engineers, data scientists, and other advanced professionals in the digital data universe.
The use of Big Data and analytics in HIM can provide valuable insights into patient health, enhance the quality of care, and facilitate the development of personalized treatment plans.
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