2016 Convention Q and A: Aligning HIM Education with Data Analytics Practice

On Monday, October 17 at AHIMA’s Annual Convention and Exhibit, co-presenters Dilhari R. DeAlmeida, PhD, RHIA, assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh, and Suzanne Paone, MBA, DHA, RHIA, adjunct associate professor at University of Pittsburgh, will deliver their presentation, “Transforming HIM Education to Align with Data Analytics Practice.” Their session will take place from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. in rooms 321-323 at the Baltimore Convention Center. The Journal recently spoke with DeAlmeida and Paone for a preview of what attendees can expect to learn at their session.

Dilhari R. DeAlmeida, PhD, RHIA

Dilhari R. DeAlmeida, PhD, RHIA

What are you hoping members will take away from your session?

We are hoping that members will be able to grasp and apply some of the content and tools discussed during our presentation right away. Our presentation is broken into three parts:

  1. Examining traditional database education in HIM
  2. Inclusion of data analytics and information governance into curriculum
  3. Integration of innovative strategies and tools

We will leave the audience members with some resources they can take back to their organization, work setting, or academic setting. We also hope that session attendees will leave with an appreciation for how important it is for HIM educators to work in collaboration with colleagues who have real data and real problems in formulating a curriculum for data analytics.

Suzanne Paone, MBA, DHA, RHIA

Suzanne Paone, MBA, DHA, RHIA

What should HIM professionals should be focusing on now in regards to data analytics?

Depending where you are in the data analytics competency ladder, we think everyone should continue to learn new skills and tools that they can apply in analyzing various types of data. They should also be focusing on data governance and information governance if they have not yet started. The Journal of AHIMA has published several recent articles related to the growing need of using data analytics as part of our future HIM profession and roles. A few examples include: “Keeping Current in the Electronic Era: Data Age Transforming HIM’s Mandatory Workforce Competencies,” “HIM’s Professional Shake-Up Wake-Up: Moving Beyond Reality 2016 and ‘Reimagining’ HIM for a Quickly Changing Healthcare Industry,” and the newly released Health Information Management Reimagined white paper.

The issues of data quality and data integrity are of the utmost importance and concern with regards to data analytics in healthcare and health services. While information technology tools to analyze, predict, and visualize data for stakeholders are progressing, healthcare suffers from a legacy of disparate systems and poor historical industry controls on the quality of transactional data. Thus, many transactional data systems (both financial and clinical in nature) are fraught with inaccuracies at the data level. HIM professionals must work proactively with operational stakeholders to cleanse transactional data as feasible—and more importantly put controls in place regarding the implementation of data standards when new products are installed and adherence to rigorous change control policies with regards to currently installed data systems.

How can attendees start incorporating the lessons from your session in their organization right away?

After working with some of the publicly available dataset using a spreadsheet tool such as Excel, attendees will be able to transition to working with their own organizational dataset and be able manage, access, and analyze various data sets.

We are also providing some best practices using the basic IT System Development Lifecycle (SDLC) with regard to addressing the use of transactional data for research that can be applied to any academic center. We are also discussing tactical tips in teaching fundamentals of data analytics in the HIM or HIT curriculum that can be applied by educators in any type of HIM/HIT.

What else would you like members to know about your session or data analytics in general?

The healthcare industry is behind other industries with regards to using day to day transactional data in a strategic manner by applying principles of data analytics practice. HIM professionals can learn from best practices in other industries such as the need for rigorous controls on data assets and the need to use a systematic lifecycle approach when trying to solve complexities related to data analysis. While IG is a new focus for AHIMA and within the health setting, these principles and practices have been successfully executed in many industries by sticking to the core IT principles of the systems lifecycle approach.

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