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Health Information Management

Introduction

Over a period of years, health information management has become an essential part of health care services. This, in return, has called for health information managers, who would be responsible for keeping relevant patient records. The health management strategies has helped put an end to long information retrieval processes in major health care centers, providing organizations for the patients and also the organizational information. Due to the technological advancements, most of the organizations today use electronic information. It is due to this fact, that the roles of the health information managers has broadened and, thus, better handling of financial, administrative, and clinical data is required (Wilson, 2002). It has helped increase efficiency in health organizations, as data management is simpler and retrieval is quicker.

 

Generally, health information managers (HIM) are the owners of patient health records. They are responsible for safeguarding this information and preventing its disclosure to unauthorized persons. New posts in health sector are emerging to help in handling with information. Traditionally, health information managers reported to people such as operations officers or financial officers. At present, it has changed with the introduction of new posts such as Electronic Health Records Administrators and Managers. They are solely responsible for disbursement of information and only to the authorized people, unlike traditional approach, where the IT departments were responsible for enforcing privacy of the patients’ health records. The health information managers are also responsible for balancing all records available in the IT systems. They do this through ensuring that the information is up to date and accurate. Through this, it will be possible for the data to be understood by relevant users. The health information managers are also responsible for collection and transmission of these records when needed. According to American Health Information Management Association (2008) (AHIMA), the HIM are also liable for ensuring that other staff members keep updated patient records according to the set standards.

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Traditional Model

• Most of the records were written and stored in paperback; patient records were stored in files.
• The health information managers reported to the chief operating officer or the chief financial officers.
• The responsibility for the safety of the patients’ records was upon the IT department.
• There was no record of graphical and laboratory results which were often filed as received on discharge of a patient.
• Retrieval of the patients’ records was manual, as the clerks had to find the written files containing the records.
Professional Model
• The patient records are stored electronically in computers due to the development of technology.
• There is an established management system for the records with staff for record management that is headed by electronic health records officers and administrators.
• There is an information security manager who ensures the security and confidentiality of patient electronic records.
• There are set up policies and procedures that are required for data retrieval and disclosure to other parties other than the patients.
• Due to the upgrade in electronic record management, the data users are able to get information electronically other than manually.
Competences of a Health Information Manager
• Should be able to use a range of IT applications
• Should be able to communicate these IT concepts understandably
• Should be able to design information management systems that are certified
• Should have managerial skills to be able to manage staff in the department well
• Should be knowledgeable in electronic documentation and review conduct

Information Systems

Information systems help to improve effectiveness of management through faster coordination and processing of activities (Muehlen, 2001). They involve input, processing, and then output. Input, for example, is the statistical data about a company that is entered into a computer or patient’s details that are entered into a computer. Processing takes place when the company and patients’ information are classified and saved in the system in an organized manner. Output is the information that is used to make printed copies about the company, for example, income statements, and information about the patient, which was entered.

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