Celebrating Health Information Professionals Week
Health Information Professionals Week celebrates the work that thousands of Health Information Management professionals do throughout the year. The army of dedicated health information professionals is an integral part of medical care today, working to keep information flowing freely between clinics, hospitals, clinicians, insurance companies, and the patients they serve. This year, Health Information Professionals Week runs from March 16 through March 22, 2014. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, says that there were 186,300 Medical Records and Health Information Technicians in 2012. The BLS expects the number of health information technicians to grow by 22 percent between 2012 and 2020, which is much faster than many other occupations. An aging population will cause greater demand for medical tests, procedures, and treatments covered by insurance companies that will then cause a greater demand for certified professionals capable of processing the associated health information. Increased demand has already caused tremendous growth in health information. In the past, someone who worked in medical records simply assembled charts and delivered them to the hospital unit or doctor’s office. Health Information Professionals week celebrates the growth of health information management and recognizes the three new job descriptions emerging in the field of health information: Electronic Health Record Specialists, Medical Billers, and Medical Coders. Electronic Health Record Specialists Electronic health record specialists, or EHRSs, will be in great demand as healthy systems push towards electronic health records instead of old-fashioned paper records. These professionals perform a wide variety of duties, such as, auditing patient records to ensure they comply with legal and regulatory requirements, extracting data from patient records to be included in studies and reports, and reviewing patient records to make sure they are complete. They can also process Release of Information requests for copies of medical records and perform basic medical coding functions. Electronic Health Record Specialists help doctors, nurses, and other health professionals make the transition between old-fashioned paper charts and modern electronic ones. They bring strong computer skills to any healthcare organization. Medical Billers Medical billers make sure everyone receives the correct payment. These professionals must understand medical coding and be able to read medical invoices. They must also enjoy communicating on the telephone as they often spend a great deal of time talking to patients and insurance companies on the phone. Medical billers keep patient-care costs low while still ensuring proper payment for healthcare professionals. Medical Coders When a patient receives care from a doctor’s office, the clinic must document various aspects of the visit. The most efficient way to do this is to assign each diagnosis, treatment, and procedure with a unique code. The medical coder reviews documents pertaining to the patient’s visit, assigns the proper codes and submits claims and other forms with those codes to the appropriate departments. Documents can include doctor notes, laboratory test orders and imaging study requests. Medical coders review patient information to look for pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes. They also make patient records available for medical personnel. Medical coders describe the patient experience in a language understood by medical billers, insurance companies, computers and researchers. Health Information Professionals Week highlights the work these dedicated professionals perform and recognizes the value of the work they do.