Information Governance & Standards

HIM Student - Career Advice

  • 1.  HIM Student - Career Advice

    Posted 28 days ago
    Hello
    I am a HIM student graduating in the Spring. I plan to sit for the RHIT Exam during the summer. Much to my surprise (I have a clinical background in Respiratory Therapy), I find myself looking at Health Information Technologies and Processes, Health Informatics, Analytics, IG, etc.
    IG is so comprehensive. Can someone tell me what types of jobs there are in IG and how a new graduate would start?

    Thank you.

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    [Debbie] Beiderbecke
    [Student]
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  • 2.  RE: HIM Student - Career Advice

    Posted 27 days ago
    Hi Debbie,

    That is a great question, and you are right, IG is very comprehensive. As HIM professionals, we focus on the quality and integrity of health information. I would suggest learning about all of the areas within HIM that aid in the information life cycle (EHR, billing/rev cycle, release of information, understanding the legacy systems still being used etc.). Then it is important to understand the workflows using that information and determining what areas need to be improved and which processes could use some refinement. Take a look at our Information Governance Adoption Model for some ideas. These are the items (most likely pain points for an organization) that can be brought to leadership's attention and the need for IG to be implemented. Since IG is still so new to the field, there may not be open "IG" positions-- it is important that we take on IG as HIM professionals and step up to be the champions for the developing and sustaining the IG program. We have the skill sets to take on IG and expand our practices in HIM to the enterprise-wide level-- it's just a matter of who wants to take it on!

    There are tons of free resources out there on IG. I would recommend taking a look at what we have here at AHIMA: IGIQ.com, our IGIQ blog articles, monthly IG Journal articles, the IG toolkit, our IG boot camps, the latest eBook "Mastering the Information Governance Adoption Model: IGAM" and several other resources.

    IG is so broad and learning about the areas in which IG can and should be implemented will help clarify the topic and allow you to determine a plan for getting your organization (where ever that may be after graduation) with IG. ALL healthcare organizations should be practicing IG including hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, state departments of health, health information exchanges, vendors and more. These organizations need IG and you can help them initiate the program by making a strong case for why it is needed.

    Hope this helps. Thanks!



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    Kristi Fahy, RHIA
    Manager, Informatics, Information Governance, and Standards
    AHIMA

    kristi.fahy@ahima.org
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  • 3.  RE: HIM Student - Career Advice

    Posted 26 days ago
    Thank you for your encouraging response. It is a little bit overwhelming to know all that is out there. I will start looking at what AHIMA has available before I try to tackle anything else. How would you suggest that I try to get my foot in the door as a new grad (and after I pass my RHIT)?
    I will have completed my required PPE's by the end of this semester, but we are always encouraged to get more experiences before graduation.

    Thanks

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    [Debbie] Beiderbecke
    [Student]
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  • 4.  RE: HIM Student - Career Advice

    Posted 25 days ago
    Hi Debbie,

    I would recommend, where ever you start off, to take note of some of the processes that could be improved across the organization and in your daily workflow. Perhaps issues with data quality or data definitions... or perhaps a high percent of denied claims... or difficulty searching and retrieving documents. All of these (and really any inefficiency) can be addressed through IG and more standardized processes. Determine what the value-add for the organization would be (return on investment, operational efficiency, cost avoidance, risk avoidance etc.) which will help you continue to make the case for IG. Then your leaders may want YOU to lead the program once they are bought in and realize the changes do need to made-- and that is your first route in!

    Project management skills are great to have as someone who would lead an IG program-- coordinating with different stakeholders, developing a multi-year plan, managing competing priorities, managing issues that arise, benchmarking success etc. I would recommend looking into that as it will be a great set of skills to have for many jobs.

    There is also AHIMA's career map. IG is on there and several job options. See if this helps you narrow it down.

    AHIMA - Career Map
    Ahima remove preview
    AHIMA - Career Map
    AHIMA Store is the place to find products and services for Health Information Management professionals.
    View this on Ahima >


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    Kristi Fahy, RHIA
    Manager, Informatics, Information Governance, and Standards
    AHIMA

    kristi.fahy@ahima.org
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  • 5.  RE: HIM Student - Career Advice

    Posted 22 days ago
    Hi, Kristi

    Thank you for sharing so much valuable information. We discussed project management in one of my classes last Spring. What type of coursework or other type of preparation would you suggest to develop some of those skills? I understand that Public Speaking is required for some Bachelor's level programs.

    We looked at the AHIMA Career Map in class last week. At what point does it make sense to seek out a mentor? Once I have my first job or when I am looking?

    I appreciate your input.

    Debbie

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    [Debbie] Beiderbecke
    [Student]
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  • 6.  RE: HIM Student - Career Advice

    Posted 20 days ago
    Hi Debbie,

    The Project Management Institute (PMI) is an excellent project management association and resource. They offer a wide range of courses on-demand that will help you build the basic skills and advance on to some of the more in depth project management training.

    Public speaking is certainly a great skill to have. I would also recommend taking the time to understand the daily workflow of the organization you work at. Once you know how things work with the flow of information, who does what, and where things are located, you will be able to help identify areas opportunity for IG. It won't happen over night, but definitely keep tabs on how the organization uses its information.

    As for the mentor, it's always good to have one. In many cases, your new boss will be a type of mentor to you, though if you find a mentor before you find a new position, it wouldn't hurt.

    Thanks,

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    Kristi Fahy, RHIA
    Manager, Informatics, Information Governance, and Standards
    AHIMA

    kristi.fahy@ahima.org
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: HIM Student - Career Advice

    Posted 18 days ago
    Information Governance, Analytics, and Informatics roles are usually somewhat 'senior' positions that typically require a great deal of experience and advanced certifications.  If you want to move into analytics/informatics, start out with Excel, SQL, and statistics.  These are going to be basic competencies for both analytics and informatics.

    To get your foot-in-the-door, those new to the field typically do start out in coding positions that give them the experience and background necessary to know what to do with the data they have, once they have it.  Organizations now do have a lot of data, but there is a shortage of personnel who know how to manipulate, assess, and present data as an analyst/informaticist.  This skill set usually comes with time, experience, and learning different analysis tools (Excel with Data Analysis Toolkit, SQL, and statistics).

    There's a fair amount of overlap/sharing between analytics and informatics, due to the skill sets required for both.  Information Governance is related but definitely a different specialization; however, you need to learn about databases, data architectures, data types, and data relationships.  AHIMA has a great deal of information of information governance and the IGAM model.  Peruse the AHIMA BOK, website, and Journal for a lot of great information on Information Governance,

    Informatics and analytics are also hot areas due to a recent greater emphasis on population health and quality measures.  Being skilled at Excel with a basic knowledge of statistics and learning/knowing SQL are likely going to be core components for any role in these areas and will also lead to significant career opportunities.  There are lot of free resources to help people improve their Excel skills and SQL skills that can be easily found on YouTube and other sites.  There's also a dedicated Engage community for new/recent HIM grads and careerists to discuss navigating the HIM career landscape.

    Hope this helps!


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    A. Andrews Dean
    Health IT Consultant
    www.linkedin.com/in/aadean
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  • 8.  RE: HIM Student - Career Advice

    Posted 17 days ago
    Thank you Kristi and Ashley for your thorough and helpful advice. I have registered for Statistics this Spring semester and obtained a great deal of information for advancing my Excel skills online. Should I go in this direction, how would I learn SQL? Would I be best off taking a course?

    Thanks again.
    Debbie Beiderbecke

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    [Debbie] Beiderbecke
    [Student]
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  • 9.  RE: HIM Student - Career Advice

    Posted 16 days ago
    You're welcome!  I'd search Google for more information on SQL; there's a ton of information available to anyone wanting to learn about it.  It is basic programming, so it is technical, though.

    For other career questions, I'd check the Future HIM Leader Community for students and new grads.  Best of luck with your studies and future career endeavors!

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    A. Andrews Dean
    Health IT Consultant
    www.linkedin.com/in/aadean
    ------------------------------