AHIMA Foundation Launches Network to Highlight New HIIM Research

The annual AHIMA Foundation Research Forum, which took place on Sunday in the convention center, provides an opportunity for the growing health informatics and information management (HIIM) research community to shine, and this year set the stage for the launch of a new HIIM research network. Evidence-based research is crucial for the profession to expand its knowledge base and boost credibility, recognition, and respect. The research network provides a formal structure to bring together researchers from HIM and various disciplines to collaborate on studies and grants.

This year’s Research Forum highlighted the strength of the research community and their ability to create new knowledge, develop innovative concepts, and provide thought leadership to the healthcare industry. The speakers at Sunday’s forum described the findings from the following recent studies and grant-funded initiatives:

ICD-10-CM and Physician Practices

Valerie Watzlaf, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, Zahraa Alkarwi, and Patty Sheridan, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA, presented the findings from their study to evaluate physicians’ perceptions on the change from ICD-9 to ICD-10, identified how HIM professionals can assist in the transition, and assessed the resources needed.

Through focus groups, this study found that physicians’ top concerns are related to EHR software readiness, increased documentation specificity, ability to learn a new language, and inadequacy of current training methods and content. Physicians also noted the advantages of the ICD-10 data with effective data mining and improved ability to show the complexity of their patient cases. HIM professionals were touted as needed during the transition to create simple, clear specialty guides and crosswalks as well as education and training tools specific to physicians.

MPI Data Discrepancies

David Marc, Ryan Sandefer, MA, CPHIT, Beth Just, MBA, RHIA, FAHIMA, and Megan Munns, RHIA, discussed the findings from their research on identifying the underlying causes for MPI data discrepancies. Patient identification matching has been identified as a major problem contributing to data integrity issues. This study examined over 150,000 patient records with confirmed duplicates from multiple sites. Findings showed that the greatest proportion of mismatches were in residential address, Social Security number, and naming fields and identified the specific errors in each of these categories. The researchers discussed the accuracy and ability of existing patient matching algorithms to detect and accommodate the variance in patient identifiers in medical records.

Relationship between Quality, Efficiency, and Volume in Hospitals

Andi Hila, recent graduate from Ohio State University, is the first student to present their research findings at the annual Research Forum. Hila used statistical analysis to determine the relationship between quality, efficiency, and volume in acute care hospitals in the US to further understand what causes certain types of hospitals to outperform others in the quest to reduce cost and improve quality. Hila’s research found that no single category of hospital performed at the top tier of all measures and that variations in performance among regions could be the result of public health, policy initiatives, and patient demographics.

Use of Telehealth for Patient Education

Katie Kerr, MA, RHIA, and Sandefer highlighted the findings from their grant project that leveraged broadband technology to benefit both patients and clinicians by connecting FirstLight Health System and the College of St. Scholastica to offer pre-operative education through online telehealth technology, developed by clinicians at FirstLight and physical therapy students at St. Scholastica.

AHIMA Foundation HIIM Workforce Studies

Michelle Dougherty, MA, RHIA, CHP, Susan Hart-Hester, PhD, William Rudman, PhD, RHIA, and Watzlaf provided updates on four workforce studies including the mapping of the standard occupational classification codes to AHIMA’s HIM Career Map, the new “HIM Without Walls” workforce study, the clinical documentation improvement specialist workforce study, and development of a competency-based global health information curriculum.

Professionals conducting research and interested in participating in next year’s forum, or those simply interested in more information on the AHIMA Foundation Research Network, can visit the AHIMA Foundation website at www.ahimafoundation.org.

Catch up on the news and get insights from AHIMA’s 86th annual Convention and Exhibit held September 27-October 2 in San Diego, CA. For a complete list of event coverage on the Journal of AHIMA website, click here.


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