Thursday, November 17, 2011

Health Information Management

Find Health Information Management Programs in the United States and Canada. Today, health information management programs are essential to candidates aspiring for job opportunities in physicians' offices, home healthcare businesses, outpatient clinics, hospitals, nursing homes and other medical facilities. While no two health information management programs are alike, it is essential to review course offerings at schools and career-training institutes that offer this and related programs. Though the majority of health information management programs are offered as degreed courses, a number of educational facilities may extend medical office specialist training, which can be completed as a job-specific course that results in a diploma or certificate. Health information management programs are often accredited, and require successful completion of certification from the American Health Information Management Association. Common studies in health information management programs include liberal arts, and comprehensive health services administration training. Graduates of health information management programs will have gained the knowledge and skills to successfully plan, direct, coordinate and supervise overall healthcare administration duties. Because healthcare managers (or medical and health service managers) must maintain client/patient records, it is critical that these healthcare workers continue education in computer technology and medical software to keep up with business demands. Though States vary in regulations, students who desire to work in nursing care facilities as health care administrators must complete one of several health information management programs and have obtained a minimum of a Bachelor's degree. In addition, a licensing examination is also required. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth in this field is expected to be positive; and individuals who have successfully completed all studies in any one of a number of health information management programs have the potential to achieve annual earnings of over $117k. Find your dream job! Let education within fast-growing industries like massage therapy, cosmetology, information technology, healthcare, business, and others get you started! Explore career school programs near you. Health Information Management Programs ©Copyright 2007 The CollegeBound Network All Rights Reserved NOTICE: Article(s) may be republished free of charge to relevant websites, as long as Copyright and Author Resource Box are included; and ALL Hyperlinks REMAIN intact and active.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What Exactly Are HIPAA and HIPAA Protected Health Information?

With the creation of the Internet and other major data sharing sources, things started changing dramatically in the way that information is transferred between many different sources. Using the web and data software for medical records retrieval, prior to government regulated action, did not really provide security or privacy for the patients whose records were being shared. Thus, HIPAA was born and protected health information became a reality. Time to explain what exactly HIPAA is and what does it cover as a law? First, it is important to begin with a general definition of HIPAA. In 1996, the United States passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This act changed the way healthcare workers and providers are allowed to handle medical record retrieval and the sharing of personal healthcare information. This act is relevant for all Americans, whether they are infants, adults, or even deceased. HIPAA protected health information encompasses all walks of life and all sorts of professionals who may or may not need to access the private information of others. This act was passed to prevent the random access of information via networks, and makes it so that medical professionals and others who frequently use medical records have to obtain permission from patients to share or access this material. Because HIPAA protected health information is protected under federal law, all states have to apply by these regulations, and can only add to them, not take away from their severity. Improper medical records retrieval can result in serious consequences. All punishment results in fines, and these fines can add up to over one million dollars, which to most people, is an exorbitant amount of money. Keeping patients safe and secure both physically and also record wise is crucial for patient safety and success. HIPAA protected health information encompasses many areas of the medical field and several other professions. Essentially, all information about a patient is protected by this act. A patient has to give consent before anything, but his or her first name can be shared with others. Medical records retrieval is something that is needed in other professions as well, such as legal personnel. HIPAA protects patients from lawyers obtaining their information without court ordered documents. This makes sure that a patient's personal business is not put out there for just anyone to see and spread. By covering all information, there is no chance of anything being left up to chance regarding the security and safety of patients. HIPAA protected health information is something that no one wants to have distributed publicly for the entire world to see. HIPAA protects every citizen of this country from the unlawful and unfair spreading of his or her personal medical information. Without explicit permission or a signed document, there is no way to get away from having to pay an expensive fine if one violates the HIPAA protection act. Medical records retrieval is something that might be considered a little time consuming since HIPAA has been signed into law, but it has become safer and more secure for everyone.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Protecting Health Information With a Web Application Firewall

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act allows for the continuing health insurance coverage for people even as they become unemployed or when they change jobs. The act also provides for the standards that would help ensure the privacy of an insured's information when it comes to electronic transactions with regards to health care. Starting in April 2003, the Act has safeguarded the use and divulging of what is called "Protected Health Information" or those that is related to an individual's health status, health care provision or they payment for such that may be traced back to an individual. The HIPAA is an ever growing concern now as hospitals, health care insurers and even doctors and other health professionals extend their businesses online. Right now, it is possible to get your medical tests results online, or perhaps get a prescription via e-mail or online. With the advent of Health 2.0, a lot more processes are now possible online where it used to require a visit to the doctors' office. Web Application Security and the HIPAA If you run a health-related site that collects, stores, and transmits patient data and information, it is best to make sure that your Web application security is up to HIPAA standards []. The HIPAA requires that Web sites should be able to: 1. Encrypt all data that is to be transmitted, archived or stored. 2. Store all data, this includes backups and easy recovery. 3. Restrict access to relevant data only to authorized personnel. 4. Protect all data from being altered or tampered. 5. Destroy all data when they are not going to be used anymore. How a Web Application Firewall Can Help A Web application firewall can examine all packets of data that is transmitted from or to an application; thereby letting you screen and block specified content. Web application firewalls can help prevent hacking attacks that uses the holes in your Web applications itself. This helps you to protect the data you have on your systems from falling into unauthorized hands. With a hacking attack, the hacker can retrieve the information you have stored, and can get copies of all incoming data after putting malware on your system that allows him or her to record the activities on your system or Web site. Aside from this, a Web application firewalls can also help you keep out viruses and other malware that can destroy data you want to keep, or alter these data according to the way it is programmed. The sad thing is that, most Web hosts can easily offer a Web application firewall, but opts not to. If you have a health related Web site, be sure to get a host that offers this kind of protection.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Explore the Field of Health Information Technology

The healthcare industry is growing faster than ever, and growing with it is the need for trained professionals in the field of information technology. With advances in medicine and technology, digital record keeping and data basing have become fundamental elements to modern healthcare facilities. According to statistics held by the United States Bureau of Labor, job prospects for professional in the health information technology field are expected to be among the fastest growing for the next decade. In addition, technicians are in constant demand by employers, making IT professionals in the health industry invaluable. Wages for technicians averaged at $40,610 in 2008, and those holding degrees from accredited universities earned even more. Healthcare technicians perform a variety of duties relating to organization records handling. Their skills are essential to efficient patient care. Some of these duties include compiling medical information like medical history, current symptoms, examination results, diagnostic tests, treatment methods, and past healthcare services provided. Workers in this field also organize and manage medical data and ensure the quality and accuracy of data. In addition to careful management of data, technicians are responsible for understanding and using a variety of advanced equipment and technologies. Technicians are now proficient with electronic health records, or EHR. With this type of software, technicians maintain and analyze all of a facilities data. Professionals often work to improve the quality of data management, and contribute to greater quality in overall patient care. Professionals in the health information technology field may hold an associates degree, or higher. Programs in the field are offered at a variety of field, and typically cover a broad range of topics in healthcare and computer systems. At the associate's level, graduates can expect an introductory level of knowledge of the following areas. Basic Medical Terminology Graduates can expect a rich understanding of medical terminology so they can communicate with medical professionals and understand important concepts for healthcare organizations and patient care. -Health Services and Information Systems Classes will cover the history of healthcare facilities in the United States and the evolution of modern day procedures in the industry. -International Classification of Diseases Coding Central to a healthcare professional's basic knowledge is an understanding of the layout of disease classification. Graduates will be better able to interpret and communicate this data. -Legal and Regulatory Issues in Health Information Programs will prepare graduates to deal with the specific technology laws related to patient privacy and records handling.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Health Information Technology Programs

Considering going to school for a career in health information technology? Many information technology fields have suffered with the economy while the field of medicine continues to grow at an increasing rate. The demand for qualified IT workers in this field is a great opportunity for people interested in beginning or continuing a career in technology to get the education they need to enter the field of healing services. High Demand As Technology Matures The field of health info tech is growing rapidly as clinics and hospitals around the world rush to implement automated systems for tracking patient information, prescriptions, and research information. While many other fields have been using this type of technology for years, the medical field requires a very small margin of error that until recently made it difficult for doctors and hospitals to get completely behind the transition toward electronic services. Now the health industry is facing a shortage of IT workers who are trained in the terminology and requirements necessary for working in the field. Tax Incentives Encourage HIT Upgrades Part of the recent stimulus package involved tax credit incentives to encourage doctors and hospitals around the country to upgrade their record keeping systems and monitoring software in an effort to increase productivity and patient safety. Info technology workers are necessary for installing, operating, and maintaining these new systems as hospitals take advantage of the incentives and upgrade. Without information technology workers trained to deal with health industry terminology and problems, many hospitals that would benefit greatly from newer record keeping systems for research and patient health cannot perform these upgrades. Many Options for a HIT Degree For someone interested in going to school to obtain a health information technology degree, there is no better time than now. There are a wide range of options available both online and in traditional schools at all levels of education for credentials in this field. Some people who are in a hurry to start may be able to obtain certificates through tech schools for basic training and qualification, while those with the time and money can obtain any level of degree they choose to pursue. No matter how much the economy suffers, now is a perfect time to obtain a degree or certificate in H.I.T. For someone considering a career change or looking for a lucrative IT job that cannot be outsourced safely, the field of medicine is currently the place to be. As the general population ages, the demand for better technology to deal with medical issues will only increase.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Incentives With Healthcare Information Technology Software

The Health Care Industry is focusing on ways to provide better service to patients and cut cost for all entities involved. One of the major pushes for improving the quality and cost of health care has been the movement toward better Health IT. Health IT is defined as "providing the umbrella framework to describe the comprehensive management of health information and its secure exchange between consumers, providers, government and quality entities, and insurers." The advances in Health Care Information Technology Software aim to improve health care quality, prevent medical errors, reduce cost, decrease paperwork, and more. The Health Care Industry has made significant strides in their technology with the development of electronic prescribing and electronic medical records (EMR). Electronic Prescribing is the ability to send error-free, accurate, and understandable prescriptions electronically from the provider to the pharmacy. EMR is a computerized history of patient health information. EMR's are housed on health information systems that allow storage, retrieval and manipulation of records by health care providers. These electronic capabilities have proved to assist in the goals of improving health care quality by decreasing medical errors and reducing costs. Health Insurance providers are expected to see major benefits from the ePrescribing and EMR programs. For instance, Medicare could "save up to $156 million over the five-year course of the program due to avoided adverse drug events." Another area to benefit is doctors. Studies have proved that doctors using ePrescribing software "save about $0.70 per patient per month, which translates to $845,000 annually for each 100,000 insured patients filling prescriptions. If the direct cost-saving benefits do not entice health care providers enough, they also receive savings through many of the health acts and services currently in place. Incentives are given to those that participate in ePrescribing software and Electronic Medical Records, and in future years penalties will be given to those that do not participate. Examples of incentives are through the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), the Health Information Technology for Economics and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). They both offer a bonus for those that participate in the electronic medical record and/or the e-prescribing programs. MIPPA has designed a year by year percent bonus for ePrescribing participants and a year by year penalty for non ePrescribing participants. Starting in 2009, they rewarded 2% and took no penalty. This year (2010) they will also reward 2% and take no penalty. In 2011, MIPPA will reward 1% with still no penalty. In 2012 the penalty begins. They will still reward 1% to participants but will also begin penalizing non participants at 1%. In 2013 the rates move to 0.5% reward and 1.5% penalty. Beyond 2013, those participating in electronic prescribing programs will not receive an incentive but if you choose not to participate you will be hit with a 2% penalty. The ARRA HITECH incentives deal more with EMR's or EHR's (Electronic Health Records) but also include eprescribing. President Obama signed this act into law in February 2009. Medical professionals who provide Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as EMR's are eligible to receive as much as $44,000 in incentives. MIPPA and ARRA HITECH are just two examples of the many incentive programs that the government has approved. Health care providers that do not participate in electronic prescribing and electronic health records miss out on these as well as the ROI and cost savings. And, this is just the beginning. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services is continuing to put efforts toward Healthcare Information Technology Software and developments. It is the wave of the future- the sooner you jump on the better. Dr. First is a provider of electronic prescribing software meeting the MIPPA and ARRA HITECH quality ePrescribing system guidelines. We help providers reach the necessary requirements to receive the incentives they deserve. Check out our website to see the many benefits of our programs.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Medical Records and Health Information Technicians - Career Opportunities

Medical records and health information technicians handle and organize patient records, and evaluate these records for completeness and accuracy. They may specialize in coding patients' medical information for insurance purposes. They will tabulate and analyze data to improve patient care, control costs, provide documentation for use in legal actions and respond to surveys for use in research studies. They conduct annual follow-ups on all patients to track their treatment, survival, and recovery. They may supervise health information clerks and transcriptionists. In 2004 there were about 159,000 technicians in the U.S. About 40% worked in hospitals. The rest were mostly in physician's offices, nursing care facilities, outpatient care centers, and home health care services. Some worked in insurance firms that deal in health matters. In public health departments technicians supervise data collection. Medical records and health information technicians usually have an associate degree from a community or junior college. Besides a general education, coursework should include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, legal aspects of health information, coding and abstraction of data, statistics, database management, quality improvement methods and computer science. Many job openings require Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT). They pass a written exam from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). To take the exam, one must graduate from a 2-year associate degree program. This should be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). In 2005, there were 184 CAHIIM-accredited programs. Medical records and health information technicians must be able to: o organize and evaluate patient records for completeness and accuracy, using modern record keeping procedures and computer programs, o make sure that patients' initial medical charts are complete, o communicate clearly with physicians and other health care professionals, o manage a department, if they have the training and experience, o work a 40-hour week with some overtime, o be prepared to work day, evening, and night shifts if working in hospitals, o pay close attention to detail. Job Growth for Medical Records and Health Information Technicians: Job opportunities for medical records and health information technicians will grow much faster than average for all occupations. Most new jobs are expected to be in physician's offices because of increasing demand for detailed records. Rapid growth also is expected in home health care services, outpatient care centers, and nursing and residential care facilities. How much do medical records and health information technicians earn? In 2004 median annual earnings were $25,590. Fifty percent earned between $20,650 and $32,990. The lowest salaries were less than $17,720, and the highest more than $41,760. A Day in a Medical Records Technician's Life: On a typical day a medical records technician will: o organize and evaluate patient records for completeness and accuracy, o make sure that patients' initial medical charts are complete and entered in the computer, o communicate with physicians to clarify diagnoses or to obtain additional information, o assign a code to each diagnosis and procedure, o consult classification manuals concerning disease processes, o use computer software to assign the patient to one of several hundred "diagnosis-related groups," or DRGs, o tabulate and analyze data, o review patient records and pathology reports, o conduct annual follow-ups on all patients in the registry. I hope this article gives you a good idea of what is involved in the career of a Medical Records Technician. Health care is the largest industry in the world. In the U.S. about 14 million people work in the health care field. More new wage and salary jobs are in health care than in any other industry. (Some figures from Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Medical Transcription Outsourcing and Health Information Management

Modern day healthcare depends on the input from various sources to be effective and profitable. One such aspect that plays a vital role in healthcare is health information management. Health information management is the practice of maintenance and care of health records. Health information professional have been described to play a critical role in the delivery of healthcare. They focus on collection, maintenance and the use of quality healthcare data to support the information intensive and information reliant healthcare system. One important aspect of health information management is medical transcription, which is the process of documenting the patient-healthcare professional encounter. Medical transcription is a specialized process requiring the optimum combination of people skills, processes and technology. Outsourcing medical transcription ensures that patient records are created in a professional manner making the process efficient, effective and economical. Patient records need to fit a certain criteria to be useful in the healthcare process. The service provider needs to be evaluated based on the criteria used to evaluate data characteristics: * Accuracy: Medical records of patients are vital to the process of healthcare. They provide continuity, basis for planning future care, assist in case of litigation and can be used for education and research. Therefore the accuracy of the data captured should be as close to 100% as possible. * Accessibility: To provide quality healthcare it is important that information is easily accessible. It not only helps healthcare professionals and support staff provide quality care but also organize their time better. Outsourcing can help in this aspect by providing archiving facilities, which make it easier to trace file. * Comprehensive: Patient records need to encompass all the details of the patient's medical history. This aids healthcare professionals in making the right treatment plan. The service provider needs to ensure that all the details are comprehensively captured during the transcription process. * Consistency: Healthcare is a complex field and it is important that the value of the data should be reliable and standard across various applications. This is the responsibility of the transcriptionists who actually transcribe the records. It is important that their training program encompasses all the details of the specialty they are transcribing for. * Currency: The patient records should reflect current data. Creating timely records is an important duty of the service provider. * Definition: This means that the data should be clearly defined with no room for misunderstanding. This requires the transcription team to have in-depth knowledge of medical terms and definitions. * Granularity: This means the attributes and value of data should be defined at the correct level of detail. * Precision: The details in the medical record, documenting the essentials so that no details are missed but unnecessary data is not included. * Relevancy: The data captured in the medical records should be relevant. * Timeliness: The medical records need to be created with all the above given attributes within a reasonable time frame. The optimum turnaround time would aid both quality healthcare and quicker reimbursements.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Genuine National Women Health Information

It is important to get unbiased information on women health issues and also learn about the latest breakthroughs in alternative medicine, fitness or nutrition. This wealth of national women health information is available from several websites which deal with national women health. It is interesting to know that a lot of the latest information can be got from the National women health Information Center, along with some motivational guidance to help women achieve their health goals. Sometimes there are weekly newsletters which provide the health information. There are also health and wellness newsletters which discuss topics like alternative medicine and show how such alternative solutions can be good for the mind, body and soul. Very often women believe in myths regarding some form of alternative medicine and by getting the national women health information, many of the facts are cleared. One can also go to some websites where more information is available on a specific subject. The information provided in most of the newsletters is given by experts like doctors and psychologists, and can be helpful to all readers. Fat Loss and Cholesterol Let us look at some of the common topics regarding the health information. Fat loss and cholesterol reduction is a common subject and women want to know about new techniques in doing it. Otherwise there is a trend of using natural supplements and herbs against disease and for good health. Women do the shopping and the cooking in a household, so they must keep themselves informed about the nutritional values of natural supplements, so that they can integrate them in the daily diet of the family. Fast Food and Beverages All that is harmful is also discussed on the forum of the National women health Information Center. The harm that is caused by fast food and beverages, or some prescription drugs is reiterated, so that they can be avoided. A clinical psychologist is often available to give advice to women regarding aging process, menopause or arthritis. A lot of national women health information is also available from books, and they are recommended on several websites of the centers related to national women health. It is important for every woman to inform herself about the nutrition that she needs and what she should avoid. Life moves at a hectic pace and often nutritious eating and regular physical activity takes a back seat. But take some time and read the health information available, it will make you want to lead a healthy life and inculcate healthy habits. Because after all, these healthy habits will lower your risk for diseases like diabetes, asthma, heart diseases and even cancer.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How to Become a Health Information Manager: A Quick Guide to Help Practice the Career of Your Dreams

Does the idea of pursuing a career as a Health Information Manager intrigue you? Well, then you're in for a treat. Here's a quick guide that will assist you and provide you with all the information you need to know about this career. Educational pre-requisites In order to pursue this career, you must take classes in math, health, biology, chemistry and computers during your high school. After completing high school, you must enroll in a two-year associate's degree program in a health information technology school. There, your main emphasis of studies will be on medical vocabulary, data analysis and database management, anatomy, physiology, coding and classification, and methods of reimbursement. Aside from this, you must also pass an exam made by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) in order to certify as a Registered Health Information Manager. Such credentials will not only be appealing to your potential employers, but also have a positive impact on your remuneration package. Skills Required Training alone is not enough for you to become an efficient professional. You must have the basic skills required for the job as well. Some of the key skills required for this job include: * Effective decision making * Flexibility * Tactfulness and diplomacy * Strong leadership skills * Excellent communication skills Responsibilities Some of the primary responsibilities which you will be required to carry out include: * Designing and managing information systems in the healthcare system * Directing the Health Information and department * Collecting and safekeeping patients' personal data * Undertaking compliance responsibility * Checking into patients' medical history for any treatment that they might have received or different tests that they might have undergone * Using and updating computerized healthcare information management systems such as EHR * Recording different disease patterns, their treatment and outcome * Translating different services and treatments into proper standardized codes to assist in the billing process * Coordinating medical and pharmacology research Career Outlook Employment as a Health Information Manager is expected to grow faster as compared to any other medical fields. The main reason behind this is decrease in old people's mortality rate, which directly leads to an expansion in the healthcare industry. Moreover, this field also offers a lot of exciting and lucrative benefits. Some of these include: * Employment prospects in a fast growing field * Specializing in computing and health services management * Working in the computer industry or health industry * Working in the public or private sectors * An average income of at least $40,000 annually

Friday, October 21, 2011

Health Information Technician Degree Courses

The knowledge gained through a degree program in health information technology directly applies to career work as a technician. Students learn the entire industry through coursework that breaks down each area of the field. Degree programs can be entered through many colleges that are dedicated to training highly proficient students. Courses teach the main objectives of career work, which is ultimately the management of health records. This can include medical history, billing information, medical information, and more. Helping to increase productivity and minimize error inside the workplace is one educational focus. Students learn how to prevent errors and reduce the cost of health care by working to secure documents and handle them correctly. Schooling follows a comprehensive curriculum that covers how to process, manage, gather, and report all relevant and needed medical information into a specific format. Students can work through courses in an associate's or a bachelor's degree program. Each level is designed to prepare students for work related duties. Courses usually teach students everything from terminology to coding. Within a degree program students can expect courses to be focused on teaching general knowledge and focused skills. Courses can include the following: *Medical Terminology This type of course looks at medical terms in regards to their prefixes, suffixes, and word roots. Students learn how to analyze and reconstruct terms in order to properly use them. Spelling, definition, and pronunciation are focused on. Areas of study include operative, therapeutic, and diagnostic meanings for surgery and body system terminology. *Healthcare Systems Students learn about the different areas of the health care field. Courses typically center on the financing, regulation, distribution, and organization of all health care systems. Students learn how to do their job in regards to career parameters. This can include learning about software applications and how to work with the implementation of new systems. *Coding A coding course looks at medical documentation formats and how to use them proficiently. Through learning about work guidelines students will know how to assign different codes for different medical charts and billing procedures. *Reimbursement Students work to compare health care providers to understand the payment cycle according to regulation standards. The goal is to teach students how to navigate through any abuse or fraud. Skills are taught by learning about computerized encoding and software. Other courses involve subjects on statistics and legal applications. Students can expect to complete an all-inclusive education when they enter a program. The general requirement for work is an associate's degree. Entry-level technician jobs are available to students that hold an associate's degree. Completing a bachelor's degree prepares students to enter the field as managers. Additional coursework may include information management, health insurance information, and medicine. Graduate study can be entered at the master's degree level from some colleges. Students that desire to enter upper-level management to oversee all areas of health information gain a master's degree.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Introduction to Mental Health Information

Mental health illnesses are one of the growing problems in the world. It affects a good number of the population. As the world gets more advanced technology and as people experience a more complicated lifestyle, the number of people suffering from these conditions increases. If you are wondering what are a few of the causes to the problem, below is some mental health information you must know. Genetics The genes of a person play an integral part on the mental capacity of that person. Experts say that the person's family lineage can have a major impact in the ability of the person to handle problems and imbalances in life. Mostly, those people whose family members suffer from a illness will have higher risks of acquiring the condition compared to those people with no known predisposition. Environment Environment play its part in the contribution of the person's manifestation of mental illnesses. Although genes play a significant role, the environment nurtures the genetic abnormality. Even if you are born with the tendency to suffer from mental break down, your surroundings can help you prevent it. One example: proper nurturing, love and affection can combat an unhealthy mental condition. With the right emotional nourishment, you can reduce greatly the likelihood of the illness. Many experts point to the significance of the parents in rearing the right attitude in preventing the manifestation of the condition. In conclusion as we come to the end of our mental health information overview and what could potential contribute to them; we mentioned the interaction of the genes and the environment. Although your genes are innate, you can modify your future by having supportive parents, family and friends.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tools and Technologies Used in Health Information Systems

The present article attempts at presenting you how various tools and technologies are used to create and manage health information systems. The list of such instruments and procedures include: * Web technology standards; * GIS technologies; * artificial intelligent techniques; * imaging technologies; 1. Web technology standards Working with such an amount of information, a health information system has to resort to the best software and web technological platforms. The data exchange process only provides a static health information from health information systems, disseminating it straightforwardly. A convenient platform through which the information can be pre-designed, validated and captured as an easily accessible multimedia document is offered by the Internet and the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML). This platform uses as the main method for data collection the one that implies an automated and direct data input at the source. This way, data's timeliness, integrity and validity is improved. Using pre-designed documents to input information allows the completed documents to be warehoused either centrally or via on/line distributed network technology. The information which is directly input can be thus converted into easily readable and appealing user-oriented information. 2. GIS techonologies GIS (geographical information system) represents a solid tool used to collect, record, store, manipulate and display spatial data sets. An example of such spatial data is given by digitized maps that are three dimensional and which can also comprise a combination of text, icons, symbols and graphics. An instance of using GIS technologies in health information system is when a certain epidemic has to be digitally mapped. This way, specific populations groups can be effectively targeted for healthcare interventions. 3. Artificial intelligent techniques When speaking of the matters at a clinical level, artificial intelligence techniques are developed to provide clinical decision support to physicians. Along with these techniques, there are also used applications based on neural network (NN) and intricate logic techniques. In other words, the main purpose for which physicians and other medical experts resort to artificial intelligent techniques in healthcare domain is to obtain assistance in diagnosis and treatment. 4. Imaging technologies Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) have been contrived in order to ensure storage of medical information. By means of such systems there was intended to address some of the issues related to accessibility and e/networking requirements for the exchange of medical imaging data. Therefore, PACS are consequently accomplishing the task of storing massive digital images and of supporting simultaneous access to digital imaging data from various connected systems, networks and terminals.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Health Informatics - Emergence of Health Information Technology

Each century is observing and inheriting new technology in health care information as and when it gets invaded and put into use. Health informatics has become popular by creating a connection between three different elements. Patient, health professional and information store are bound together to be revisited in future whenever the need arises. The word is a combination of two different concepts- health and information technology. Creating a link between two has become significant and vital in current era. The health information of the individual is stored using IT devices so that it can be retrieved at a later date when required. One of the important factors is analysis, evaluation and customization of health information system that strengthens the medical expert-patient relationship. This follows from the fact to make use of guidelines and ethics needed in medical field. A foolproof system of privacy and confidence needs to be developed and implemented. Thus, it is the mere exchange of health information in a systematic manner through the process of a set of medical standards such as HL7. HL7 is a health care IT standard which every vendor has to follow globally for interoperability. The main objective is to achieve the most apt and suitable health care deliverance and execution system. For the purpose, the health professionals need to be trained in the usage and applicability of most advanced IT features and functions. This may require gaining much of practical knowledge, experience and funding. At the same time, proper and prudent medical and clinical decision support system is a major requirement. M-health and e-health are equivalently needed to achieve the goals of this discipline. Health informatics is gaining status with increasing use of information technology and communication in health care. This promotes and allows a long-lasting and ever-growing bond between the patient and specialist. Confidence- building and privacy should be maintained as much as possible.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trends That Emerge Within Health Information Systems

The present material will identify and present some of the most important emerging trends in health information systems. Consequently, the text will discuss about Web services and semantic Web, Web 2.0, and HealthGrid. The web services and semantic web encompass the software components or applications that interact when using XML and Internet technologies. Their major function is to express information and application logic and to transport information as messages. With a platform-neutral interfacing and communication mechanism and a wide infrastructure support in terms of servers and development environments, Web services offer the benefits of loose coupling, ease of integration and of accessibility. In the last decades, Web services technology has evolved towards the development of a set of standards for publishing, discovering and composing independent services in an open network. Two principle approaches can be applied to Web services: the procedural approach and the document-oriented one. The former lays emphasis on bottom-up applications. The latter, on the other hand, resorts to top-down business exchanges, trying to describe in detail the elements of the respective exchange. The semantic Web is an extension of the World Wide Web, offering a united approach to knowledge management and information processing. It resorts to standards in order to render machine-interpretable information. The interaction between computer and the human factor is maximized by means of semantic Web technology because it gives the contents well-defined meanings. A second emerging trend in health information systems is to use Web 2.0 technologies, which refer to applications and services that are web-oriented and which use the Internet as a working platform. The distinct feature of this type of technology resides in the fact that the Internet is used with its unique characteristics and relying on its strengths, without trying to adapt the Internet to a particular application. Within Health 2.0 are incorporated concepts such as telemedicine, electronic medical records and the use of the Internet by patients themselves. Message boards, blogs and other more advanced systems are forms of communication used in the Web 2.0 technology. The use of HealthGrid emerged as another important trend in health information systems. HealthGrid represents a virtual environment in which medical data is stored and made accessible to various participants in the healthcare systems such as physicians, healthcare centers, allied professions, administrators and patients. Medical, health and clinical records maintained by disparate hospitals, drug companies and health organizations can be gathered and shared through HealthGrid. Among the benefits ensured by this software platform one can enumerate: - real-time and remote access to large amount of medical and clinical data, irrespective of the original healthcare setting from which they were acquired; - complete history of patients no matter where the care was provided; - real-time monitoring of trial results and research outcomes.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Trends That Emerge Within Health Information Systems

The present material will identify and present some of the most important emerging trends in health information systems. Consequently, the text will discuss about Web services and semantic Web, Web 2.0, and HealthGrid. The web services and semantic web encompass the software components or applications that interact when using XML and Internet technologies. Their major function is to express information and application logic and to transport information as messages. With a platform-neutral interfacing and communication mechanism and a wide infrastructure support in terms of servers and development environments, Web services offer the benefits of loose coupling, ease of integration and of accessibility. In the last decades, Web services technology has evolved towards the development of a set of standards for publishing, discovering and composing independent services in an open network. Two principle approaches can be applied to Web services: the procedural approach and the document-oriented one. The former lays emphasis on bottom-up applications. The latter, on the other hand, resorts to top-down business exchanges, trying to describe in detail the elements of the respective exchange. The semantic Web is an extension of the World Wide Web, offering a united approach to knowledge management and information processing. It resorts to standards in order to render machine-interpretable information. The interaction between computer and the human factor is maximized by means of semantic Web technology because it gives the contents well-defined meanings. A second emerging trend in health information systems is to use Web 2.0 technologies, which refer to applications and services that are web-oriented and which use the Internet as a working platform. The distinct feature of this type of technology resides in the fact that the Internet is used with its unique characteristics and relying on its strengths, without trying to adapt the Internet to a particular application. Within Health 2.0 are incorporated concepts such as telemedicine, electronic medical records and the use of the Internet by patients themselves. Message boards, blogs and other more advanced systems are forms of communication used in the Web 2.0 technology. The use of HealthGrid emerged as another important trend in health information systems. HealthGrid represents a virtual environment in which medical data is stored and made accessible to various participants in the healthcare systems such as physicians, healthcare centers, allied professions, administrators and patients. Medical, health and clinical records maintained by disparate hospitals, drug companies and health organizations can be gathered and shared through HealthGrid. Among the benefits ensured by this software platform one can enumerate: - real-time and remote access to large amount of medical and clinical data, irrespective of the original healthcare setting from which they were acquired; - complete history of patients no matter where the care was provided; - real-time monitoring of trial results and research outcomes. These are only three of the trends emerging within health information systems. Others would be Voice over IP, evidence-based health informatics, and using e-health models and services.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Great Careers in Health Information Technology

There is a huge demand for health information technology specialists. These professionals are responsible for maintaining, designing and operating the technology that keeps the healthcare industry running. The career outlook for clinical coders, patient information specialists, data analysts and clinical coders is strong. Technicians are employed in hospitals, clinics and private practices, mental health facilities, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, vendor companies, government agencies and education. As the use of technology in the healthcare industry continues to increase the number of career opportunities for professional technicians will continue to grow as well. Patient care is becoming more complex. This is resulting in an increase in medical records that need to be maintained for each patient, and in turn, creating a need for more health information technicians to manage patient records. The benefits of using modern technology in the healthcare industry include less paperwork, higher productivity as well as fewer mistakes in patient record keeping. An associate degree in health information technology will prepare students for positions as healthcare applications developers, health information technicians, medical secretaries and clinical laboratory technicians as well as consultants and sales and marketing support positions. Many graduates seek positions in hospitals or clinical settings, although many choose to enter the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. Degree programs encompass learning in technology, administration and medical areas. Graduates will be skilled in many areas of computer science including database management, trouble shooting, technical support and computer networking. They will also be knowledgeable in hospital regulations, insurance and billing procedures, medical ethics, patient privacy and record processing. Additional courses in medical areas will include medical terminology, biology, anatomy and physiology. Applications developers create software to efficiently collect patient data, and streamline data processing. The shift to digital records and wireless communications in the medical field is creating a need for skilled professionals to help with this transition. Automated alert and reminder systems as well as digital protocol and safety systems are also among the applications that technicians design and maintain. Their work allows those responsible for patient care to do be more effective in their work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for health information technologists will increase at a faster than normal rate through 2014, and maybe longer. Jobs for clinical laboratory technicians will be the fastest growing segment. The demand for medical secretaries will be the slowest growing; however, there will still be a number of jobs for these professionals.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What The Health Information Technology For Economic And Clinical Health Act Means For Healthcare

In February of 2009, President Obama signed into law a landmark healthcare reform bill, and included within it is the Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act. This portion of the healthcare reform bill will require that all healthcare providers switch over to electronic medical records, or EMR, by 2016. Like most of the controversial reform, it has drawn considerable criticism from politicians, insurance companies, and medical professionals over the intervening years. What it Requires The Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act, despite all of its legalese, is quite simple to understand. At its heart, the sponsors of the healthcare reform simply wish for all healthcare providers to convert their current paper medical records files into digital electronic medical records so that they can be quickly shared with professionals that regularly require to see a patient's files. Having every patient's medical records in a shared electronic format would provide the basis for quicker diagnoses based on their medical history, quicker treatment, and reduce the chances of error that can occur when trying to decipher a faxed copy of a paper record. It would also allow insurance companies easier access to their client's medical records, with limitations. If done properly, all confidential information would stay confidential, and only released to those with the proper access. But, like all new ideas, change encourages fear and feuding political parties have fed that fear, to the point that many hospitals and doctors in private practices have been dragging their heels about converting their records over to the new digital format. Reasons Against Converting The primary fear shared by medical professionals and their patients is that their private medical information will no longer stay private under the digital format. In the days of hackers freely running rampant throughout corporation computers and selling private information this may have been true, but in the 21st century, security screens have successfully kept hacking to a minimum, nationally. The last few reported cases of company-wide identity theft occurred because thieves physically stole hard drives, not because they hacked in and stole individual files. The Right to Privacy Act, instituted years ago, does protect individuals from having their medical records published, and any violations involving digital records would be covered under that Act. The patients have a right to question the security of their files, and if their caregivers have taken the correct measures to secure their files, they will be secure. They are only meant to be transmitted to recognized physicians, and even the access of insurance companies will be limited. The second biggest reason physicians and hospitals give against converting medical records over to an electronic format is the manpower and time needed to do so. Regardless of monetary incentives provided under the Act for both Medicare and Medicaid participating organizations and doctors, the claim is that it would be too expensive to bring their computers up-to-date to handle the digital conversion, and to pay someone to covert all of their files to the new format. The Benefits of Conversion With the traditional paper system, individual patient records can be very time consuming to compile and update, and just as hard to track down when needed. With electronic medical records, all that information will take only seconds to locate, and could mean the difference between life and death if the patient is receiving care somewhere other than their home hospital, or even within it. Copying and faxing paper copies could lead to a misinterpretation of what is written within them, especially if the printed quality is below standard. With electronic medical records, everything that the physician needs is right there on the screen, clear and easy to read. This format should cut down on the hazards of medical errors, like giving the wrong prescription, administering the wrong dosage, or inadvertently using a drug that the patient is allergic to. The patient's entire medical history is available, and should make treatment faster and more efficient. The Health Information Technology For Economic and Clinical Health Act aims to improve the quality of care, without compromising their privacy.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

HIPAA Security Compliance - Protects Confidential Patient Health Information

The stringent HIPAA security compliance norms, make it mandatory for the all the entities like hospitals, insurance providers, payers, billing services, insurance plans and medical personnel to strictly adhere to the laws relating to the safe transfer and storage of confidential patient health information. To achieve HIPAA security compliance it is necessary to implement few steps that have been categorized below: Establish Physical Safeguards: Computer networks play a crucial role in processing, storage and exchange of health records of patients between different health care entities. The physical access to crucial information can be safely managed by following these steps: * Creating and implementing a policy that authorizes only limited and trusted people to access the confidential patient health data. * Installing workstations and computers in safe areas of the facility and should be accessed by authorized personnel. Devices like computers, fax, printers and copiers should be placed in such a manner so that un authorized people cannot view patient health data. * All the computer programs should be protected by passwords and user ids to prevent, unauthorized access. The passwords should be securely managed so that unauthorised people cannot access them. * A security system should be in place so that it manages passwords efficiently and guarantees the safety of the patient health information whenever the staff members change positions or somebody leaves the organization. * All the storage devices, backup tapes and computer equipments should be accounted for and a proper log book should be maintained. * All paper documents that contain patient health information information, but not needed in the office should be shredded so that no body else can lay their hands on them. Enhance Computer Network Security It is necessary to maintain a proper record of the hardware and software installed in the facility, and understand their role in processing the patient health information, safely. Risk analysis should be done by creating a flow diagram of the work process so that loopholes in the system can be identified and removed. The computer network should be protected from virus attack or hacking by adopting some security measures mentioned below: * Install appropriate gateway security, which has has capacity to deeply inspect the web content and filter out unwanted elements like a debilitating software and virus. * Anti virus solutions, digital signatures, firewalls should be in place to negate any online threat. * Proper encryption procedure should be followed, while sending out crucial health data from the organization network to the public network. The information should be strongly encrypted to protect it from unauthorized access or intercept. * The security system should continuously monitor the network for any suspicious activity and alert the administration about unwanted deviation from the standard procedure, by raising an alarm. Educate Staff on HIPAA Security Compliance A well trained staff is the backbone of the successful organization. It is of utmost importance for an organization to increase the awareness about the importance of safe handling of patient health information. It protects the healthcare facility from lawsuits due to noncompliance of HIPAA norms by an employee or employees. The organization should: * Provide staff access to HIPAA compliant training courses and seminars to increase their knowledge about HIPAA norms. * Provide training in password management and virus protection. * Train on how to efficiently maintain logs and audits. * Carry out periodic review of workers' status of HIPAA security compliance training and update regularly them regularly on latest developments to hone their skills in managing safely, the patient health information. * Provide training on managing the backup system as per contingency plan, in case of natural or manmade disaster with the aim to protect the health data and keep crucial operations, running. Hence for an organization to achieve the requisite HIPAA security compliance, it is necessary to integrate smoothly the software, hardware and personnel so all of them work in a cohesive manner, ably guided by an administration that continuously monitors, provides feedback and places safeguards to ensure secure handling of the crucial health information of the patient.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Why Protect Patient Health Information?

Being a Medical Informatics Functional Consultant, people often ask me why protect patient health information? I have visited and interviewed several hospital CIOs and other concerned heads on the issues of patient health data security. Believe me; all of them face varied challenges to make sure that the health data of every patient is secured. There are many standards to follow for maintaining and keeping the data secret; for instance, they need to adhere to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economical and Clinical Health) etc. On the contrary to the popular belief, I would say, health data security is far beyond just restricting the grant of privilege i.e. firewalls and passwords. When any medical software is designed and developed, it's very important to have a comprehensive view that includes following the limitations as described by government bodies, hospitals' own rules and regulations and top of all the standards accepted aboveboard. I have seen many software that ask for patient demographics and history without mentioning which, the next step or page would not come. Of course, if patient does not want to declare his ethnicity, the software should allow it to skip by making it a non-mandatory field. Protecting patient health data is very important as relieving it may affect his or her personal, professional and/or social life. In countries like India, the matter of health care data of patient keeping secured is not so taken seriously and because of that, most of the health care centers do not fall under standard hospitals or clinics as far as following the laws are concerned. Nevertheless, local government has initiated such policies that are likely to be followed in coming years. For any health care center, it is better to follow existing standards as set by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology). Also, ISO (International Organization of Standards) too specify certain protocols to be followed for ensuring patient health data security. For software manufacturing companies (IT Companies), it is always better to include a domain expert (medical domain expert) as to come with better product. On the other hand, medical domain expert should have knowledge of medical standards and also should possess basic knowledge about computer languages as to interact and interpret IT professionals.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Resume, Salary, and Other Employment Information About Health Information Technicians

What is a Health Information Technician? Health information technician is the person responsible for performing all the health related tests and maintaining all the records of these tests. They have to present the results of these tests to the doctors so that the patient can be medicated accurately. Here we discuss the importance of the clinical laboratory technician resume and the tips for writing this kind of resume. When you are writing the health information technician resume, you need to include the details of any medical certifications or short-term nursing courses you have undertaken in the past. For working as a medical technician, you need to possess the corresponding educational qualifications and the necessary skills. Where are these technicians required? The job of medical technician is to organize the medical records of the patient. They ensure that all the forms are filled up properly, signed, etc. These healthcare assistants generally don't have direct contact with patients. They work in the medical laboratories and perform the various tests including blood test, urine test, etc. They are also required in the hospitals or clinics those have their own medical labs for performing these tests. When working in hospitals, health technicians perform some other responsibilities along with the tests. Qualification Required Today we see that many health technicians working in the healthcare industry possess the associate degree in psychology, computer sciences, anatomy, or medical terminology. You can also undertake any laboratory course for working as a medical laboratory technician. Following are some important qualifications required for this position. * BS/MS in Medical technology * Experience in Clinical Laboratory * Experience in Molecular testing Responsibilities of the Health Information Technician: Any health information technician has to perform number of responsibilities. They transfer the complex information into the understandable and interesting form for the ordinary public. They have to collect the data from the lab technicians and organize the diagnosis report for treating each patient. Health technicians determine the insurance reimbursement with the use of the computer programs, analyze the data and tabulate it. These technicians work under the supervision of the health information administrator. Following are major job duties that a health information technician handles: * Get the specimens for performing chemical analysis * Perform the chemical tests of the body fluids like blood, urine, spinal fluid, etc., to determine the presence of affecting components * Set up and maintain the laboratory equipments * Examine the samples of the chemical tests * Perform medical research to find the treatment for curing the disease * Record the results of the tests and present them to the doctor whenever required Salary Offered The pay scale of the health care technicians can be categorized in 4 types. The below figures are according to the survey made in Unites States in 2008. Figures of current pay scales may vary from what is mentioned below. * Average Pay Scale - $20,440 to $50,060 * Medium Pay Scale - $32, 960 * Largest Pay Scale - $27, 920 to $34, 910 * Highest Pay Scale - $43, 380 to $ 56, 320 Opportunities Army recruits the medical technicians every year. These technicians are trained in routine laboratory tests under the supervision of the experienced professionals. After completion of the training and job proficiency, these technicians supervise the laboratory and may advance to more responsible position in the lab management. Training The duration of training for a medical technician may vary depending on the type of specialty and the organization applied in. The training of the health information technicians includes * Study of the Medical procedures in the laboratory * Study of human parasites and different illnesses * Lab administration and maintenance of records There are very limited jobs in this field but because of the salaries offered to these health care professionals the career as a clinical laboratory technician is blooming rapidly.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) Strategic Planning

Early adaptors of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) process are discovering that they have to prepare for a wave of change, which will impact the entire organization, long before they bring in an IT specialist. The Health Information Technology (HIT) component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was signed into law on February 17, 2009. A specific goal of Medicare and Medicaid HIT provisions is to provide incentives for the adoption of certified Electronic Health Records (EHR). Over a five year period health care providers can be reimbursed a total of $44,000 if they show meaningful use of Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology. Eventually, by year 2015, there will be penalties for medical professionals that do not adopt EHR. To maximize HIT payments, providers must begin to submit for incentive payments during the 2011 and 2012 calendar year. This is good news for organizations that have been contemplating an ERH process, as they can benefit from these lessons learned from others that have jumped in and implemented the process through trial and error. Consistent with any major change management process, it is essential that the leadership be aware of the disruptive effect the EHR process will have throughout the organization. The strategic planning processes provides a format for developing specific strategies, converting those strategies into a business planning process and establish measurable and attainable organizational goals. It is a process that not only determines where an organization wants and needs to go, but also, how it is going to get there HIT Strategic Planning: Health Information Technology (HIT) payments are spread out over a 5 year period. This is the time to seize the opportunity to develop a five-year strategic plan with short and long term goals that coincide with the HIT planning process and the organizations mission. At the start of the process, creating and communicating a compelling vision is the powerful directional force. The vision sets the strategy for the next 5 to 10 years and positions the future success of the organization, its migration to EHR technology and the resulting improved patient information and care. An effective planning process needs to include an external assessment and an internal appraisal. The external assessment considers the organizations customer or market segments, along with a competitive and trend analysis. A formalized internal appraisal should objectively review the organizations structure & functions, resources, strengths and limitations. A survey assessment tool from a third-party, not affiliated with the organization, will generate unbiased results Collaboration: It is essential that the HIT team truly represent the organizations clinical leadership, in addition to administrative and IT leadership teams. Before EHR implementation begins, consider completing a comprehensive work flow analysis to review the current efficiency of the organization prior to IT intervention It has been early adaptors experience that organizations are never fully prepared for the loss in productivity that accompanies the EHR planning and implementation process. Allow enough time for the EHR team to complete the selection, planning and implementation process (24 to 36 months is recommended). Communication: A clear and upfront communication of the organizations vision, and how HIT will fit into the mission, needs to be determined by the leadership team before beginning the EHR process. Update policies and procedures to inform staff, with clear and concise documentation, on how roles, responsibilities and processes may have been changed. Implement a standardized orientation process to insure consistency. Cross-fertilization of department staff within orientation, training & development sessions has been a helpful strategy in learning the big picture. Leadership support for an environment of trust and open communication was found to foster honest feedback on the system and the EHR implementation process, which points to the increased buy-in that is necessary for successful HIT initiatives. It is inevitable that EHR will begin to transfer an organizational culture that may be founded on yesterdays paradigms and ideas. Among the lessons learned by early adapters of electronic healthcare technology is leadership teams who develop a strategy that includes collaboration, communication and cooperation before beginning the process create an environment in which people are prepared and excited about operationalizing the vision. Aligning resources and establishing guidelines for effectively leading people across the organization, before beginning the EHR selection process, will ultimately lead to a higher level of performance. Medical professionals can take full advantage of the ARRA HIT timeline and the maximum payment schedule by beginning the EHR development process in 2011 or 2012 and submitting for reimbursement. Now is the time to create a strategy which determines the future direction of the organization and what organizational resources will be needed to determine that success.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Health Information Technology Field is Growing

The health technician field is not only one that is expected to see above average growth in the next several years, but is also one that will continue to see changes in job responsibilities. Working in this field usually means the business environment will be a pleasant and comfortable office setting. This is one of the few medical fields that does not include direct, hand-on contact with patients. The typical work week is 40 hours, though there may be some overtime. In facilities that are open 24 hours a day, technicians may work day, evening or night shifts. Medical information and record technicians usually have at least an associate's degree. Course work in the field will include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, data requirements and standards, data analysis, clinical classification and codifying systems, data base security and management, insurance reimbursement and quality improvement methods. Taking math, biology, chemistry, health and computer science courses in high school can improves an applicant's standing when applying to a post-secondary school. Many employers will prefer to hire credentialed technicians. Credentialing programs often will require re-credentialing and continuing education. Obtaining a bachelor's or master's degree, or an advanced specialty certification, can help with career advancement for someone experienced in the health information technology field. Those with a bachelor's or master's degree can often become an information manager. The U.S. Department of Labor projects employment for medical records and information technicians to increase by 20 percent through 2018, which is much faster than the average for all occupations through that time. As the population continues to age, more medical tests, treatment and procedures will be required. Those technicians that can demonstrate a strong understanding of technology and computer software likely will be particularly in demand. As the use of electronic medical records continues to increase, more technicians will also be needed. In fact, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department recently announced it would be awarding $267 million to several non-profit organizations to establish Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers, which will help grow this emerging field. These centers will provide support to medical practitioners as they transition to electronic records. In 2008, the most recent numbers available, the median wage was $30,618. The middle 50 percent of workers in the field earned between $25,000 and $40,000. The upper 10 percent earned $50,000. The health information technology field is one that will continue to have very good job prospects due to constant changes in computer and medical technology combined with an aging population.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Health Information Technician Schools

Health Information Technician Schools prepare students to become qualified for positions in health care fields, working to structure and analyze health care data and information. Students can choose programs of study for certificates, diplomas, or associate degrees in Health Information Technology, depending upon the level of responsibility they wish to assume on the job. Two-year Associate of Art (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degrees are generally preferred by employers. Associate degrees in Health Information Technology are offered at community colleges and vocational, technical, and trade schools. Health Information Technician Schools provide skills expected at various levels of employment. Students at all levels - diploma, certificate, and associate degree - can anticipate courses in medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, billing and coding, office skills, computer skills, analytical skills, and medical office administration. Students should focus on liberal arts for a well-rounded education. AA and AS degrees from Health Information Technician Schools can help graduates gain employment as administrators of health care information. Students learn to take on duties of managing records, analyzing health information, and preparing statistical reports. Courses can include coding and indexing information, managing health insurance reimbursements, analyzing and managing health records, and managing communications. Most employers prefer Registered Health Information Technicians (RHIT) or Registered Health Information Administrators (RHIA), who must have passed written examinations given by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Students must possess at least an AA or AS degree in Health Information Technology to qualify for examination. The particular school must also be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM). If you would like to learn more about Health Information Technician Schools [] and Online Health Information Technician Schools, you can find more in-depth information and resources on our website.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Physician Portal Leads To Health Information Exchange

Using computerized physician order entry, or CPOE, done via a physician portal, medical providers can now create and update patient medical records electronically. This allows them to do away with the paper medical records that line their office walls and take up square footage in offsite storage. When additional technology is installed, it also permits health information exchange. Until now, it has been difficult for treating physicians to get a comprehensive view of patient medical records. Each provider, hospital, and laboratory kept separate records, most of them paper-based. The conversion to electronic medical records, or EMRs, has made it possible for these records to take electronic form. With the addition of an EMR interface, the records can be shared between these parties. EMR integration enables a treating doctor to enter a virtual physician portal to review medical records. The doctor can also perform computerized physician order entry, or CPOE, of his or her treatment orders. When a patient is hospitalized, other departments within the hospital system can access this information and perform their designated functions. Since the information is typed, not handwritten, there is no worry of misinterpretation of unclear handwriting. When an EMR interface is installed between a physician office, lab, hospital, and pharmacy, patient medical records can be accessed and updated by all of these entities. The increased level of communication and collaboration made possible by this technology benefits both patients and those providing treatment. Redundancies and errors are reduced and treatment is streamlined. Through the physician portal, healthcare providers are given a single point of access to different services and applications. The portal can be accessed via a PDA, laptop computer, desktop computer, or tablet computer. In this manner, health information exchange is made possible from the palm of one's hand, whether at the point of care or offsite.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Fast Paced Field - Health Information Technology

Specifically the technology, which is essential to the healthcare system, brings about the exchange of health information in an electronic environment. It has been planned to improve the quality of care, prevent medical errors, enhance email communication and expand access to affordable care. Many private and public organizations are focused on finding effective uses for health information technology that will lower health care spending and improve the efficiency and quality of medical care. Some of the uses focus on advances in this technology, such as personal health records, electronic medical records and e-prescribing. For example, electronic prescribing (e-prescribing) systems allow physicians to enter prescription information for patients into an electronic system rather than writing out a prescription while some e-prescribing systems have the capacity to cross-check with other patient medications. Electronic medical and health records, which are primarily intended for health care providers, are similar to the old paper medical chart. They can be used to link data from a number of providers to present a more comprehensive view of a patient's health record. As privacy continues to emerge as a top concern about the technology, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act was set up to protect the privacy of individually identifiable information and to set national standards for the security of electronic protected health information. This market also offers one of the fastest growing job markets in the country. Most staff work in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, health insurance organizations and medical offices. Workers in the field coordinate medical information and maintain and analyze patient medical information. They also organize data and put statistical reports in order to study health care. Experts predict the demand for well-trained health personnel will grow rapidly. The high costs of electronic health record systems for providers of care, which includes the upfront capital investment and ongoing maintenance, have prevented the rapid distribution of technology systems. Even so, two of the country's largest health care systems have fully implemented electronic medical record systems, the federal Veteran's Administration and the private Kaiser Permanente systems.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Future Steps For Health Information Exchange

Through a process called health information exchange, medical information can be shared electronically across organizations within a geographic area or hospital system. Integrating disparate systems that contain electronic medical records, or EMRs, has become a necessary step to remaining competitive within the ever-evolving healthcare industry. Clinical data can be accessed more safely and quickly than in the past. Through EMR integration designed to permit the exchange of information, healthcare quality is improved, treatment and processing costs are lowered, and medical errors are reduced. Healthcare providers such as hospitals, primary care physicians, and laboratories can access and update medical records from various locations. Using a physician portal, a surgeon can even deliver updates from the patient's bedside. By providing physicians with the ability to access patient medical information via laptops, tablet computers, and smartphones used at the point of care, improved treatment and minimization of duplicate or conflicting tests or prescriptions result. From a larger-scale perspective, healthcare entities experience streamlined work processes and improved efficiencies. This reduces costs, something that provides much-needed assistance to healthcare systems at risk of going defunct. The U.S. is currently in the process of developing and implementing state and federal regulations regarding the exchange of, and technology used to capture, health information. Considered a new industry, government regulations, state-sponsored organizations are already changing the playing field. In addition, HL7, a global authority regarding standards for the interoperability of health information technology, is playing a strong part. Only about 25 health information exchange communities have been established in the U.S. The electronic transition has a long way to go, with the majority of the established entities still being tied to independent or government grant funding to stay in operation. As more communities arise, each will need to find a way to be self-sustainable in order for this endeavor to be successful. In this situation, failure really is not an option.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Online Studies - Health Information Technician

Doctors and nurses are extremely busy while working with patients and often times need help with patient records. All data received for a patient has to be accurate and up to date in order to properly care for an individual. Working with patient records to ensure correctness is vital and is a career in itself. Students can enter online health information technology degree programs to become technicians. Studies incorporate how to perform job duties by teaching students the procedures and technology required for the field. Online study is a way for students to enter education that they otherwise could not. The learning process allows students to stay home while they study and continue to work. These aspects facilitate a way for students to learn how to become health information technicians. The responsibility of keeping up with patient's records is by no means a small task. Making sure that a patient's record is complete incorporates having all information on the appointment, medication, history, and diagnosis. When information is missing or not valid technicians converse with doctors and nurses to obtain correct information. Other more specialized areas can be pursued through online study allowing students to work with information coding and the cancer registry. Coding involves using specific computer software to fill out health costs for insurance companies. Working with the cancer registry has professionals recording patient information into a database that is used by public health agencies. These skills and more can be learned through an online school devoted to teaching students about the industry. Students can study at the certificate level and work their way up to a master's degree online. Certificate programs are mainly for students that want to transition into the field. An associate's degree is the required minimum to enter the field. At the bachelor's and master's level students learn how to start designing and managing the industry in specific courses. Online studies include math, science, and computer science to enable students to fulfill all work related duties. Students that are pursuing this career should start education at the associate's degree level. Online study typically lasts two years, which makes entering the field a fast process once studying is underway. Instruction provides courses on medical terminology, diagnostic coding, and pharmacology. Study covers a wide breadth of knowledge preparing students to become well-rounded professionals. Online courses cover how to input data into a computer program and manage the health information according to law. Other focal points acquired enable students to code health data for statistical data and monetary reasons. All these skills work together to promote a general control over data and evaluation of patients. Furthering education prepares students to become leaders in the industry. Although official certification is not required for work, many employers prefer a registered health information technician. Completing a degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management can help to certify students. Upon completion students can pursue certification as a Registered Health Information Technician from the American Health Information Management Association. Registering can promote advanced career opportunities and work specialization. The work provided by a technician is important to the care of medical patients. This makes earning an online education not only beneficial to students but to patients as well. Students can begin accredited online studies by choosing a health information technician program that will prepare them for work responsibilities.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

HIPAA and HITECH - What is Protected Health Information?

The HIPAA rules all speak of "protected health information," or PHI. What does that really cover? It is important to understand what it is so that you are sure you have the correct protections in place. Let's explore the definition of PHI a bit here. The rule defines individually identifiable health information as: Individually identifiable health information is information that is a subset of health information, including demographic information collected from an individual, and... 1. Is created or received by a health care provider, health plan, employer, or health care clearinghouse; and 2. Relates to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual; the provision of health care to an individual; or the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to an individual; and 1. That identifies the individual; or 2. With respect to which there is a reasonable basis to believe the information can be used to identify the individual. It then goes on to define "protected health information" in this way: Protected health information, or PHI, is individually identifiable health information: 1. Transmitted by electronic media; or 2. Maintained in electronic media; or 3. Transmitted or maintained in any other form or medium. What that tells us is that it covers health information in ANY form. While the privacy rule applies to the information in any form, the security rule focuses on information that is created and stored electronically, including spoken conversations. What about De-Identified Information? The rules do allow for the use of information if it is de-identified. What is important to remember here is that the rule includes several things that must be removed before something is considered de-identified. Here's the list: (A) Names; (B) All geographic subdivisions smaller than a state, including street address, city, county, precinct, zip code, and their equivalent geocodes, except for the initial three digits of a zip code if, according to the current publicly available data from the Bureau of the Census: (1) The geographic unit formed by combining all zip codes with the same three initial digits contains more than 20,000 people; and (2) The initial three digits of a zip code for all such geographic units containing 20,000 or fewer people is changed to 000. (C) All elements of dates (except year) for dates directly related to an individual, including birth date, admission date, discharge date, date of death; and all ages over 89 and all elements of dates (including year) indicative of such age, except that such ages and elements may be aggregated into a single category of age 90 or older; (D) Telephone numbers; (E) Fax numbers; (F) Electronic mail addresses; (G) Social security numbers; (H) Medical record numbers; (I) Health plan beneficiary numbers; (J) Account numbers; (K) Certificate/license numbers; (L) Vehicle identifiers and serial numbers, including license plate numbers; (M) Device identifiers and serial numbers; (N) Web Universal Resource Locators (URLs); (O) Internet Protocol (IP) address numbers; (P) Biometric identifiers, including finger and voice prints; (Q) Full face photographic images and any comparable images; and (R) Any other unique identifying number, characteristic, or code, except as permitted by paragraph (c) of this Historically, we have faithfully removed all demographic information from the headers of a report, and we have used the words "the patient" when a physician dictates the name of the patient. If you really look at the above list, you will see that it's much more detailed than that. When a pacemaker is implanted, for example, the physician gives the model number and serial number, right in the middle of the report. With (M) above, that report is not considered de-identified information. The rule also states that the information must be such that a reasonable person with a statistical background would not be able to figure out the person's identity. Lastly, it says that the covered entity must not have knowledge that the information could be used, alone or with other information, to identify the person. It is critical to understand the meaning of PHI and how it applies to your setting. It is also important that all persons involved in the workforce be clear on the definitions. Be sure you have research these rules so you understand them and know how they apply to your work setting. Kathy Nicholls has been involved in the medical transcription industry for over 30 years and is currently the president of the HIPAA4MT Site, which offers guidance for medical transcriptionists and medical transcription companies on compliance with HIPAA and the HITECH Act. Nicholls is also the published author of the "Stedman's Guide to the HIPAA Privacy Rule," and is working on the second edition of that book. She is a certified medical transcriptionist and a Fellow of the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Explaining Health Information System (HIS)

When speaking of healthcare systems one envisages an information intensive industry within which reliable and timely information is essentially used in order to plan and monitor service provision. Health Information Systems represents a useful resource to make the process of delivering healthcare more effective and efficient. Therefore, the article intends to provide a clearer image on the contents of a HIS. As a part of the patient care process, a HIS collects data relevant to the parties involved. The data centralized by means of a health information system are used within many other systems for achieving numerous various purposes. Confidentiality and security safeguards have to be available principles when handling this information. Patient data and data from other facilities have to be combined and integrated into a whole, the result being used by several professional groups. Health information systems work on the basis of certain applications that process all this information so that many different organizations and professional groups can have access to it. Here are the major concepts related to the system of health information. The first one is represented by health/medical informatics and telematics. The respective defines the field that deals with: * the cognitive, information processing; * communication tasks of medical practice, education; * research including the information science and technology to sustain the respective tasks. Medical informatics concerns itself with resources, devices and methods necessary for the optimization of acquisition, storage and retrieval. The tools used within this field are represented by computers, formal medical terminologies, clinical guidelines and systems of information and communication. Clinical and biomedical applications constitute the areas of the highest interest, the specialists seeking to integrate them among themselves or to more administrative-type health information system. A second important aspect to be treated when discussing about a HIS is health information technology (HIT). It refers to the application of the information processing by means of both computer hardware and software in order to store, retrieve, share and make use of health care information, data and knowledge for communication and decision making. Electronic medical record (EMR), electronic health record (EHR) and electronic patient record (EPR) are other three notions with tremendous importance relative to a health information system. The first one is a digital- format medical record used as a standard. The electronic health record denominates the medical record in digital format of an individual patient. The totality of electronic health records are coordinated, stored and retrieved within the EHR system with the help of computers. The degree of personalization goes further with the electronic patient record that electronically stores health information about one individual uniquely identified by an identifier. ERP technology involves capturing, retrieving, transmitting and handling data specific to a patient, related to healthcare, which include clinical, administrative and biographical information.