From the Outside-In: HIM Professionals as Part of the Healthcare Team

We invited one of our Health Information Management(HIM) faculty, Christina Cole, to share with us her experience of working on new health technology implementations alongside HIM professionals. In our profession, we know that new and innovative technologies are continually being explored and implemented to help make healthcare more efficient and effective, ensuring patients receive the best care and experience possible – and HIM professionals play a key role in the implementation and use of those technologies. It is and will continue to be very important for HIM professionals to be knowledgeable about technological advancements impacting health information collection, use and disclosure. Christina shares the confidence she has knowing that HIM professionals are there to work with her on these important projects!


As a non-HIM professional working with HIM professionals on a regular basis, how would you characterize their role in the health system?

Over the past 16 years, I have worked in various roles within healthcare and alongside many CHIM professionals while implementing healthcare technology projects. The knowledge and professionalism I have witnessed over the years is astounding.  CHIM professionals understand the importance of privacy and confidentiality, record management, coding, and much more in implementing new technology, their knowledge of the patient encounter, and the importance of the information collected is critical. Without this department a hospital would not function efficiently, and they set the stage for the patient experience and care quality.


Can you share a story about an experience you have had working closely with a HIM professional?

When I was part of a team implementing an automatic appointment notification system at Eastern Health, I worked very closely with various HIM professionals. We started by piloting the system before we rolled this out to the entire organization. I had a project champion from the HIM department who worked closely with me in the planning, organizing and training aspects of the project. Once the system went live, she then assisted me by being my main point of contact when any issues or feedback was shared by staff and patients and we always worked together to keep each other informed and to seek resolutions. Her background knowledge made it much easier for her to understand the technology we were implementing, and she was then able to help support people in her area. She understood the importance of the project and was great at working with her staff to promote and get them excited about this project.


What do you feel are the challenges HIM Professionals may encounter as technology continues to advance and become part of our day to day reality in healthcare?

With all of the advancements and changes, there is a risk of technology overload and organizations and teams need to ensure that new technologies are well thought out and tested to ensure a benefit exists. Knowledge and application of change management best practices is so important in implementing technology and is a skillset that HIM professionals could greatly benefit from acquiring. Although the fear exists out there, I don’t believe that technology will eliminate this profession it will just change how they work and HIM professionals need to be ready to adapt and evolve. HIM professionals have a great opportunity to be involved in auditing, assessing and monitoring the impact of new technology implementations.  The human aspect of the HIM profession will always be needed, and I believe that technology will make things easier and more efficient to ensure the patient gets access to the best quality care and healthcare experience possible.

I would also like to take the time to congratulate each one of you for your hard work and dedication in your roles and would like to say Happy Health Information Professionals Week. Take time and reflect on the importance of your role and how appreciated you are in your organization. Enjoy your week!


Christina Cole, MTM, B.Tech, CBET (c), CET

Christina is a faculty member in the Health Information Management program at CHA Learning and is currently a Manager with Eastern Health in Newfoundland within the Healthcare Technology and Data Management Department. Christina has a Master of Technology Management and Bachelor of Technology Management through Memorial University of Newfoundland, as well as a Diploma in Electronic Engineering (Biomedical) from the College of the North Atlantic. She has also completed the Change Leadership Certificate and the Modern Management program through the CHA Learning. Christina has managed various modules and projects in Meditech, including Medical Records, Registration, and Community Wide Scheduling. She also works periodically with the Marine Institute (Memorial University of Newfoundland) on a part time basis as an instructor, and assists with course development for the Bachelor of Technology Program. Christina has a unique perspective and set of experiences in healthcare and working alongside HIM professionals, so we wanted to get her perspective on the field of HIM as we celebrate HIM Professionals Week!

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