By Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE
The first day of the new year is a time of fresh starts and promises to be kept—eat healthier, join a gym, read a new book every week, and save more money.
The horizons of our potential never seem brighter than in this moment. But as we move on with our daily lives, the durability of our resolutions tend to fade along with the memories of countdowns, ball drops, and celebrations after midnight.
Let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Part of the reason many of us fail to keep our resolutions could be that we put far too many expectations on an arbitrary and symbolic date. After all, is losing 15 pounds in the first half of the year any less of an accomplishment than doing it in the back half of the year?
The resolve to be better, to improve ourselves and our environments, is not—and never has been—tied to a holiday. Resolve is a state of mind, often born of struggle and reflection. And from struggle and reflection comes grace and wisdom.
After 2020, most of us have had our fill of struggle, but the fight continues. The multiple crises we face as a nation—the pandemic, a sustained economic downturn, and civil unrest—are still very much with us. The promise of vaccines and fresh perspectives are the light at the end of the tunnel, but it will still be a long time before most of us feel like we are back on firm ground.
I believe, more than ever, that our well-earned resolve remains the best tool for moving forward. The pain and misery we all felt to varying degrees in 2020 is where we should resolve to make our stand—not to return to the pre-2020 status quo, but to build a more equitable world for everyone, especially those who perennially fall through the gaps in our society.
In this issue of the Journal of AHIMA, we focus on honest reflections and resolutions to create a more promising future. Our cover story—”There’s an API for That”—written by returning contributors Debra Primeau, MA, RHIA, FAHIMA, and Jaime James, MHA, RHIA, focuses on the technology challenges presented by the information blocking final rule, particularly the use of APIs and the third-party apps that will give patients unprecedented power over their own health data.
As the authors note, “Consumers will wield an unprecedented level of power over their own health information. While these provisions will bring the healthcare industry closer to the long-awaited ideal of a patient-centered ecosystem, HIM professionals…will need to guide both providers and patients through uncharted waters.”
Authors David T. Marc, PhD, CHDA, Matthew Blow, BS, and Shauna Overgaard, PhD, examine the “The Impact of COVID-19 on Health Information Management,” noting that the “pandemic’s impact on the US healthcare system was epochal, the effects of which will reverberate long after COVID-19 ceases to be a public health emergency.”
Other articles in this issue include features on closing critical security compliance gaps that may have opened up during the public health emergency; predictions on which healthcare initiatives will loom large in a post-pandemic world, including social determinants of health, virtual patient services, and artificial intelligence; and utilizing data to measure staff performance in the revenue cycle department.
I am also pleased to announce that this issue of the Journal includes the debut of three new features that capture the voice of the health information management (HIM) professional. All three features will publish this week, and include:
- Leadership: This series of essays offers practical and inspirational perspectives on leadership, written by HIM professionals working in different environments. Authors will use personal experience and philosophies to help readers develop their own leadership chops, even if they are not manager. This issue features a first-person essay by AHIMA20 presenter Rebecca Harmon, MPM, RHIA, CCA, on how to add kindness to your leadership toolkit.
- Field Notes: Our use-case series will focus on HIM-led initiatives in health system environments. This month, we profile Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s journey toward implementing computer-assisted coding within their HIM department
- Everyday HIM: This series will profile HIM professionals from all walks of life. This month, we speak with Austin Davert, who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta type III, as he prepares to graduate from Davenport University this spring with a degree in HIM.
As always, I hope every issue of the Journal of AHIMA provides you with practical information and fresh perspectives on our profession. We look forward to joining you in your 2021 journey.