Maximizing the home-field advantage: The future success of HIM professionals

The HIM profession understands the type of clinical information that is entered into records, how to organize and categorize it, how to process and code it. But what we need to keep in mind is that as healthcare evolves, so must the role of HIM.

The amount of data is not shrinking, and while experts across every industry are grappling with how to best manage such copious amounts of information, health information management (HIM) teams have been working with large volumes of clinical data since the profession began in 1928 to “elevate the standards of clinical records in hospitals and other medical institutions.” This farsighted recognition of the importance of medical record quality to patient care and research underlies the HIM profession today. It’s a home-field advantage—we know the type of information that is entered, we know how to organize and categorize it, how to process and code it. But what we need to keep in mind is that as healthcare evolves, so must the role of HIM.

The amazing thing about clinical data is that the more it transforms, the more opportunities we have to learn from it—and the HIM profession is at the center of it all. As we move toward value-based initiatives, organizational requests for data will continue to become more complex. Physicians, nurses, and other clinicians are entering the field of informatics, joining task teams to help derive greater insight from clinical data. It’s becoming a perfect storm of collaboration: patients are interested in becoming engaged with their own health information, and clinical teams are asking to join the conversation of data analytics and metrics.

As the guardians of health information and the associated data integrity, HIM professionals are tasked with ensuring accuracy and standardization of inputs and outputs.  We need to fully optimize our cross-divisional informatics teams, collaborating with our partners on both clinical and administrative teams to determine strategies and approaches that fully leverage the information we have at our finger tips. In order to do this, we must collectively agree upon data standards and build educational frameworks that support and uphold these guidelines. Creating formal core competencies will not only create a uniform structure, but will enable teams to provide deep-dive analysis, new ways of improving patient care, and tactics for driving cost efficiencies.

Now is the time to invest in the next generation of HIM professionals by assuring quality education, a framework of HIM competencies and curriculum and associated skillsets they will need to successfully prepare their organizations for the future of health informatics and information  management, information governance, and the onset of ACOs and population health. We are poised for success, we simply need to grab hold of this golden opportunity.


Bonnie Cassidy is the recipient of the AHIMA 2014 Triumph Award.  To hear her speak more about the future of HIM workforce, check out this video:

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Bonnie Cassidy

About Bonnie Cassidy

This was a contributed post by Bonnie Cassidy. Bonnie serves as the 2015 Chair of the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management (CAHIIM) Board of Directors, is a Fellow of AHIMA, an AHIMA Academy ICD-10-CM/PCS Certificate Holder and ICD-10 Ambassador, and a Fellow of HIMSS. Bonnie also served as the vice president of HIM product management & innovation at QuadraMed, and served as an executive with the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT), Ernst & Young and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Bonnie was the 2011 President/Chair of AHIMA, recipient of the 2014 AHIMA Distinguished Member Triumph Award and the 2015 (Georgia) GHIMA Distinguished Member Award. Bonnie received her graduate degree from Cleveland State University and her Bachelor’s Degree in HIM from Daemen College. Bonnie grew up in Buffalo, NY, lived in Cleveland, OH and has been a resident of Atlanta, GA for 17 years. She considers the Bills, the Browns and the Falcons her hometown teams.