AHIMA Releases Patient Engagement Toolkit

As consumers increasingly turn to—and are frequently frustrated with—new technologies deployed by healthcare providers, the need for knowledgeable professionals who can speak the language of clinicians and consumers has grown. This presents an opportunity for health information management (HIM) professionals to become intimately involved with patient engagement and to ensure consumers have the best experience possible. To that end, AHIMA has released a “Consumer Engagement Toolkit.”

The widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), mobile health technologies, telehealth services, and social media in healthcare has made patients more engaged than ever, but these avenues can create confusion, too.

“Traditionally the clinical care team played the major role in the patient experience,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA, in a statement released with the toolkit. “But the change in the way patients consume their health information means today’s HIM professional plays an important role in giving healthcare consumers the tools needed to make all interactions and communications with their providers meaningful and efficient.”

To help HIM professionals in this role, the toolkit offers resources they can turn to for more information, and outlines some of the changing roles for HIM professional, including:

  • A patient healthcare navigator or advocate to collaborate with clinical staff to ensure patients receive copies of their health records and assist patients in reviewing those records.
  • A release of information specialist to guide consumers in appropriately accessing their records in compliance with regulatory guidelines.
  • A leadership role in training employees on the importance of consumer engagement as well as on new technologies and initiatives such as health information exchanges.

The toolkit also contains a lengthy bibliography of additional patient engagement background on programs such as the Blue Button Campaign, the Open Notes Project, and extensive guidelines and advice about patient rights under HIPAA.

Additionally, an appendix has sample job descriptions and job titles for consumer engagement-focused HIM professionals.

The toolkit is free to all AHIMA members and non-members. Click here for a copy of the toolkit in e-book form, or click here to read it in the Body of Knowledge.

Mary Butler is the associate editor at The Journal of AHIMA.

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