The new year has officially come and gone, and we’ve found our way back into the 20s. Fortunately, health information management has become more sophisticated (and complicated) than anyone who lived a century ago would have ever guessed.
Now that we’re here, it’s time to buckle down and tackle the tough issues facing health information management (HIM) professionals. Fortunately, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) has set the stage by outlining key issues and problem areas that are likely to have the most impact on the industry this year. So, if you want to know what’s up with HIM this year, here’s a recap of what the experts are looking closely at for the coming year.
The three HIM impact areas to watch for 2020 as outlined by AHIMA execs include – integrity, connection and access. These areas were included in AHIMA’s strategic plan, which was announced last year – but what do they mean exactly? It appears to be all about 1) Ensuring the health data created and used is of the highest integrity; 2) Appropriately allowing for the sharing of data between patients, providers and payers; and 3) Making sure the policies and practices in place balance the need for confidentiality and security and access to protected health information (PHI).
Here are a few ways AHIMA hopes to put these impact areas to work in 2020.
3. The Importance of Capturing SDOH – Social determinants of health (SDOH) such as housing status, education, access to food and transportation, social support, employment and more – all are critical elements of a patient’s medical record, since they’ve been proven time and again to have a significant impact on a person’s overall health. As such, as HIM professionals – we know that capturing this information in the patient’s record is critical, yet it’s often not done, or it’s done in an inconsistent manner that makes it difficult for clinicians to use the information. As such, AHIMA will continue to focus on being a part of discussions around capturing SHOD information in the record – including participating in Health Level Seven’s (HL7) Gravity Project. This effort is aimed at standardizing codes related to SDOH and developing consistent methods for documenting and sharing the information captured.
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