In 2016, AHIMA launched HIM Reimagined (HIMR), a leadership initiative that creates a framework for transforming health information management (HIM) aligning the profession to in-demand roles. AHIMA initiated a market research study to determine specific job skills, job competencies, and role specialties that align with the future needs of healthcare organizations. AHIMA engaged Vault Consulting to survey healthcare professionals involved in hiring senior-level HIM staff. Respondents were members of clinical settings (hospitals, ambulatory settings, outpatient/ambulatory) and non-clinical settings (vendors, clinical research firms, insurers, etc.). The following slideshow includes five key takeaways from the market research that provide HIM professionals with insight to stay in-demand and on trend.
41 percent of individuals involved in hiring decisions in clinical settings (hospitals, specialty hospitals, and ambulatory settings) feel that today’s HIM professionals are at best only somewhat well prepared for their future needs. In particular, those doing the hiring have trouble finding candidates who can react quickly in changing environments. Additionally, 45-55 percent are extremely concerned about hard and soft skills development. This aligns with AHIMA’s vision that HIM professionals need to seek more education, especially for technology and analytics-related roles. This chart is based on the survey question that asked respondents to indicate which education level they felt would best prepare a hiring candidate with that particular skill.
Executives working in clinical and non-clinical settings (i.e., vendors, data research firms) agree that HIM is changing quickly due in part to data-driven technological advances. HIM professionals will need to become adept at navigating electronic databases and systems to enable organizations to take advantage of the wealth of information available for analysis. In line with, and presumably supporting, expectations for the future, clinical and non-clinical participants strongly support standardizing electronic health record systems (EHRs) and health information technology for data sharing.
Elements of this include:
- Analytics capabilities working with large data sets for data analysis, Big Data, data mining, and business intelligence
- Ability to work quickly and accurately, demonstrating regulatory (i.e. ICD-10) and document familiarity and an agile/detail-oriented mindset
- IT skills related to computer hardware, electronic networking, and cloud computing are also strongly anticipated by clinical organizations in particular
The majority of coding is expected to remain in-house. Some jobs will be outsourced, mostly to domestic US-based partners. Executives expect that future coding will be mostly automated, pulled directly from charts. This in turn will create a need for clinical specialty expertise, and coordination/training at the provider level.
Clinical employers look for soft skills and expertise in revenue cycle management, clinical documentation improvement, auditing, and fraud surveillance. Non-clinical employers, on the other hand, place relatively greater emphasis on informatics (i.e., usability, research, natural language processing, precision medicine, and genetics).