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It Takes Two: Collaboration Between HIM and IT

Leads to More Successful Implementations

TeamworkProcessing paper and electronic health records (EHR) in the health information management (HIM) department is not a simple task.  By proactively encouraging HIM and the information technology (IT) departments to team up early in the process, the chance for a successful implementation increases. In EDCO Health Information Solutions’ experience, both teams offer valuable knowledge, but communication between departments can be challenging.  One critical component of success is an understanding of the other department’s strengths.  IT should be mindful that HIM owns the patient data and has expert knowledge of how this data is best utilized; HIM should respect IT’s ability to provide the infrastructure and data availability where and how it’s needed.

Begin with the end in mind

From the purchase of a new electronic health record system to upgrading or modifying configurations of an existing one, HIM and IT collaboration must start early, regardless of the scope of a project.

Critical topics for discussion

    • Business requirements - HIM should clearly and specifically provide the business requirements of the health record so that IT can ensure the system functionality supports those requirements.  This includes definition of the legal health record, process workflow of the chart, data required at each stage in the workflow process, and which users are allowed access and when.
    • Security requirements – Security related to types of users, location of user, auditors, and reporting are also HIM-defined requirements that IT will need to ensure are properly configured.
    • Checks and balances - Requirements, design, testing, and implementation must be developed together so progress and checks and balances are tracked throughout the term of the project.  This includes the definition and creation of dashboards and reports for tracking productivity, coding revenue, and work-in-progress.

Preparing for life after launch

After completing the project together, IT and HIM team members must provide sufficient training and knowledge transfer to the users.  Success is contingent upon follow-up observation sessions, which ensure that the desired efficiency and accuracy levels are being performed.  Healthcare technology is not static; facilities will always need updated versions, interfaces, and standards. Similarly, the relationship between HIM and IT should continually evolve and remain connected.

Take an introspective look at your facility

Is dialogue open and ongoing between your HIM and IT departments?  Are your departments working together to achieve the same goals?

 

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