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A Few Thoughts After AHIMA About the HIM Profession

Posted on September 30, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This year was my 4th year attending the AHIMA Convention. There was definitely a different vibe this year at AHIMA than has been at previous AHIMA Annual Convention. I still saw the humble and wonderful people that work in the HIM field. I also still saw a passion for the HIM work from many as well. However, there seemed to be an overall feeling from many that they were evaluating the future of HIM and what it means for healthcare, for their organization, and for them personally.

This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. Think about the evolution that’s been happening in the HIM world. First, they got broadsided by $36 billion of stimulus money that slapped EHR systems in their organizations which questioned HIM’s role in this new digital world. Then, last year they got smashed by a few lines in a bill which delayed ICD-10 another year. It’s fair to say that it’s been a tumultuous few years for the HIM profession as they consider their place in the healthcare ecosystem.

While a little bit battered and scarred, at AHIMA I still saw the same passion and love for the work these HIM professionals do. I might add, a work they do with very little recognition outside of places like AHIMA. In fact, when EHR systems started being put in place, I think that many organizations wondered if they’d need their HIM staff in the future. A number of years into the world of EHRs, I think it’s become abundantly clear in every organization that the HIM staff still have extremely important roles in an organization.

While EHR software has certainly changed the nature of the work an HIM professional does, there is still plenty of work that needs to be done. We’d all love for the EHR to automate our entire healthcare lives, but it’s just not going to happen. In fact, in many ways, EHR software complicates the work that’s done by HIM staff. Remember that great HIM modules, features, and functions don’t sell more EHR software (more on that in future posts). Sadly, the HIM functions are often an afterthought in EHR development. We’ll see if that catches up with the EHR vendors.

As I’ve dived deeper into the life and work of an HIM professional, I’ve seen how difficult and detailed the job really can be. Not to mention, the negative consequences an organization can experience if they don’t have their HIM house in order. Just think about a few of the top functions: Release of Information, Medical Coding, Security and Compliance. All of these can have a tremendous impact for good or bad on an organization.

What is clear to me is that the HIM professional has moved well beyond managing medical records. If done well, the HIM functions can play a really important part in any healthcare organization. The challenge that many HIM professionals face is adapting to this changing environment. I see a number of real stand out professionals that are doing phenomenal things in their organization and really have an important voice. However, I still see far too many who aren’t adapting and many who quite frankly don’t want to adapt. I think this will come back to bite them in the end.

Patients Medical Record Posted to Facebook – HIPAA Violation

Posted on January 24, 2012 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve generally been writing more about the EMR side of EMR and HIPAA lately. For the most part, it seems readers are more interested in EMR and EHR than they are in the details of HIPAA. Although, one of my top posts ever is from back in 2006 about HIPAA Privacy Examples and HIPAA Lawsuits. It seems that people are most interested in HIPAA when it has something to do with a HIPAA violation or lawsuit.

Today’s HIPAA violation could very likely become a HIPAA lawsuit. Plus, it is a word of caution to those about training your staff on HIPAA requirements and also on proper use of social media in healthcare.

Anne Steciw posted about the violation on Search Health IT. Here’s an excerpt from her post:

Details of the health data breach provided by the Los Angeles Daily News indicate that the employee, who was provided by a staffing agency, shared a photo on his Facebook page of a medical record displaying a patient’s full name and date of admission. The employee appeared to be completely ignorant of HIPAA laws.

I’m sure every hospital and healthcare administrator is cringing at this. I’m sure many could share stories of HIPAA issues related with staffing agencies as well. Although, it’s really hard for me to understand how someone even from a staffing agency could be so ignorant to the HIPAA laws. I’m not overstating how ignorant this person was in this situation. The above article explains something even more outrageous and unbelievable:

Even after being told by other posters that he was violating the patient’s privacy, the employee argued: “People, it’s just Facebook…Not reality. Hello? Again…It’s just a name out of millions and millions of names. If some people can’t appreciate my humor than tough. And if you don’t like it too bad because it’s my wall and I’ll post what I want to. Cheers!”

To me this is totally mind boggling. I’m sure many will argue that this person was exhibiting many of the characteristics of the Facebook generation of users. That’s a cop out and an excuse, but does make a larger point that many of the next generation have these outlandish views of what’s theirs and what’s ok and reasonable. Sadly, far too many people think when it’s humor it’s ok to do anything. It’s not and I’m sure those dealing with HIPAA violations won’t find it a reasonable excuse either.

One thing I really hate about stories like this is that they give a bad name to use of social media in healthcare. Social media is like most things which can be used for good or bad. It’s a shame if incidents like this discourage people from accessing the benefits of social media.

This is another good example of how our biggest HIPAA privacy vulnerability is people.

Medscribbler Announces Open Source Tablet EMR

Posted on April 21, 2009 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I recently became aware of a new open source tablet EMR that was going to be offered by Medscribbler. Everyone that reads this blog should know that I’m a huge fan of open source (see my previous posts about open source EMR). It’s about time that a really strong tablet based EMR software was available as open source software.

Open source EMR purists will probably be a little disgruntled that Medscribbler is built on top of other technologies which are not completely open source. However, I give them a pass for now since the open source community has so far failed to deliver very good tablet based software.

You can find more information about the free Medscribbler EMR software here or at their sourceforge page. The following is the official press release announcement:

Medscribbler is released as an Open Source electronic medical record

Scriptnetics, the leader in Tablet PC mobile healthcare applications, will announce Monday its release of the proprietary source code for Medscribbler electronic medical record, EMR, to the open source community. Installable components and the code for programmers are available at the globally recognized open source portal, Sourceforge.net.

“Releasing a Medscribbler Open Source EMR is the next logical step to drive the innovation that is needed to get to a point where the majority of physicians and other health care providers take up electronic medical records,” said Michael Milne, Chief Executive Officer of Scriptnetics. “We hope to encourage a stable, widely available and affordable entry level EMR that uses cutting edge technology with the mobility of the Tablet PC,” he continued.

To provide focus and stability to move the project forward Scriptnetics has assigned programmers to manage and contribute new programming code on a regular basis. Other programmers wanting to contribute but needing help in understanding the considerable amount of code that already exists can access live help and support. For programmers looking to maximize their skills, project suggestions are posted in a forum.

The new Open Source EMR is called Medscribbler Community and is the first vertical, enterprise level open source project to be designed specifically for handwriting recognition on the Tablet PC. Medscribbler Community is already being used by many healthcare providers both in stand alone computer situations and client server multi computer offices. This cutting edge EMR is also being used in Internet WAN mobile remote access situations.

Scriptnetics is the largest vendor of penable Tablet PC designed medical software in the world. The company’s flagship product, Medscribbler, has been distributed since 2003 and is being used by healthcare providers in the United States and Canada. Its offices are located in Wilmington, Delaware and Moncton, New Brunswick. www.scriptnetics.com and www.medscribbler.com

SourceForge’s web sites connect millions of technology professionals and enthusiasts each day. Combining user-developed content, online marketplaces and e-commerce, SourceForge is the global technology community’s information exchange network and the world’s largest open source software development and distribution environment. Its offices are located in Mountainview, California.

For more information on Medscribbler Community see: www.emrfreesoftware.com and sourceforge.net/projects/medscribbler/

Press Contacts:
Michael Ferguson
Scriptnetics
(506) 859-9271
prnews@scriptnetics.com

Full Disclosure: Medscribbler is a an advertiser on EMR and HIPAA.