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.)