Understanding of Analytics Key to Long-Term Success in HIM

Health information management (HIM) educators emphasized the growing need for HIM students to demonstrate proficiency in multiple analytics domains in order to adjust to major healthcare industry shifts and to find jobs at AHIMA’s Assembly on Education Symposium, held in Chicago, IL.

In their presentation “The Shifting HIM Landscape: Impact of Big Data,” delivered  on Monday, speakers RyanSandefer, MA, CPHIT, and David Marc, MBS, both of whom teach in the HIM department at the Colllege of St. Scholastica, summarized trends they’ve seen with their own HIM students.

“What’s clear, though, is that more and more graduates are entering the industry in some kind of analyst role. It’s clear AHIMA membership will thrive in these areas,” Sandefer said.

Throughout their presentation, Sandefer and Marc asked Symposium attendees to respond—via a text message—to various questions about the prevalence of analytics-based activities in their classrooms. Respondents all noted that while they were excited to incorporate analytics into their curriculum, some of the biggest barriers included lack of expertise by instructors and the unavailability of data.


A Practical Approach to Analytics

Sandefer and Marc explain that one of the best ways to make analytics relatable to students is to have them look for a story that can be told through data. Students in the College of St. Scholastica program do just this by using Hospital Compare data to draw conclusions based on factors such as readmissions and pneumonia. They can use this data to find trends on the local, national, and state levels.

For example, a student might use Medicare’s data to see how his or her own hospital ranks against other providers in their community. Then, students have to complete a written report giving context for their study, note why the findings were useful, and even determine if their studies reveal the need for additional research. Students can also use free and/or open source analytics programs for further analysis.

“You can see how, not only are we giving students the ability to take the lead, but we’re also using open-source software,” Marc said. This gives students the “ability to really explore and they get really excited about it.”


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