Across the globe there have never been more challenges in healthcare then there are today. Countries worldwide including Saudi Arabia are facing a shortage of healthcare workers at the same time they are tackling the need to advance their health technologies and data management infrastructure. Increase in the use and application of eHealth and mHealth and favorable regulations are assisting in the healthcare industry growth in Saudi Arabia. Socioeconomic trends will create significant opportunities for healthcare in Saudi Arabia to grow.
To ensure that a workforce ready to manage this transformation in healthcare is available, comprehensive healthcare education and workforce strategy is needed.
Health information and health information technology (HIT) is becoming increasingly prevalent in all parts of the world and is shifting the way that care is delivered, diseases are reported, and information is tracked. There are many reasons to adopt health technology and support its development and ongoing use. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement has published a framework called the Triple Aim that outlines how technology and data can be leveraged to:
Reduce Costs of Healthcare
Improve Care Delivery (Quality and Satisfaction)
Support Overall Population Health
With the global expansion of technology comes a need for a well-trained workforce with the knowledge and skills to not only implement new systems, but also provide governance and protection of the data being collected and used.
Information only inspires confidence when it is shown to be secure, accurate, and accessible by the right people at the proper time. Once this confidence is inspired, informatics – or the application of technology to data to create actionable knowledge – can be used to track progress, choose the right treatment method, or make business decisions that allow healthcare organizations to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Because of all that is required to make technology function effectively and ensure trusted information, human resources are the most critical asset of healthcare organizations today.
All healthcare systems, regardless of how well financed or organized, need sufficient numbers of skilled workers to meet the needs of implementing health information technology systems and getting the most out of that investment.
Health information management (HIM) is the practice of acquiring, analyzing, and protecting digital and traditional medical information that is vital to providing quality patient care. HIM professionals are dedicated to the effective management of patient information and healthcare data needed to deliver quality treatment and care to the public. HIM professionals are highly trained in the latest information management technology applications and understand the workflow in any healthcare provider organization from large hospital systems to the private physician practice. They are vital to the daily operations management of health information and electronic health records.
Although the profession continues to evolve over time, becoming less paper-based and increasingly electronic, the role of HIM is critical in the successful implementation of electronic health records (EHR), ensuring that providers, healthcare organizations, and patients have access to the right health information when and where it is needed while maintaining the highest standards of data integrity, confidentiality, and security. HIM professionals work with providers across the healthcare industry and beyond, serving in analytical, project management, healthcare system management, governance, and other roles. HIM professionals:
Ensure the accuracy, usefulness, integrity and protection of patient health information throughout healthcare and healthcare-related institutions
Oversee the input and classification of medical data from a variety of sources into patient records for use by providers, researchers, agencies, and others
Combine the use of health information technology (HIT) with secure, accessible data to apply informatics to clinical decision making
Assess and strategically plan for healthcare data and information needs to both manage and improve the quality of clinical and business operations
Manage operational and technology-related projects related to HIM
Enhancing individual patient care through timely and relevant information is one of the primary goals for the health information management profession. Quality and trustworthy information is also important. In fact, accurate patient billing and reimbursement to providers centers on competent health information management. By compiling and analyzing reliable data from many patients, effective health information management can help identify ways to better utilize resources, reveal public health patterns, and lead to establishing new medical treatments.
Reliable health information is critical to patient outcomes and quality healthcare. Informatics –the application of technology to data to create actionable knowledge, and part of HIM – can be used to track progress, choose the right treatment method, or make business decisions that allow healthcare organizations to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
All healthcare systems need sufficient numbers of skilled workers to meet the needs of implementing health information technology systems, managing health information, and analyzing data to improve healthcare delivery. HIM professionals empower the healthcare team – from physicians and nurses to insurance providers and government entities – with trusted health information so they can make the best informed decisions about patient health. They also ensure that patient rights – to access and review their health information – are followed in accordance with regulation and best practice.
Data is vital to healthcare. Providing data that is complete and accurate is at the heart of the health information management (HIM) profession. As information needs of the healthcare field advance, HIM professionals are playing an increasingly pivotal role. This value is due to a number of factors, including the escalating speed of transition from paper and manual entry to electronic entry and transmission of data. As more information is available, public health agencies and industry can collect, analyze and use that information to innovate better treatments and new tools and technology that improve patient care and overall population health.
Privacy is typically concerned with who has access to personal information and under what conditions. As health information becomes more distributed in electronic systems, HIM professionals continue to face the challenge of maintaining the privacy of patient information.
Privacy is valuable because it upholds a person’s dignity and allows them to make personal decisions. Privacy ensures that there is an intimate environment between the patient and the healthcare professional, which allows the disclosure sensitive information to the ultimate benefit of the patient.
HIM professionals are also responsible for keeping health records safe from unauthorized use. In order to prevent an invasion of privacy, HIM professionals establish procedural and technical measures to protect health information systems from harm.
As electronic medical record systems continue to develop, protecting the security of health information will grow in importance. These systems contain large amounts of sensitive and identifiable data with information from many individuals. If security is breached, those affected could put individuals in danger of identity theft, economic harm, and social stigma.
Health information should not only be provided to health care services, but should also be accessible to the patient. As more health information is stored electronically, an individual’s right to access their own personal health information means more patients will begin to become active partners in healthcare. This also means that HIM professionals will work with patients more frequently in the future to meet these requests.
Inaccurate health information may adversely affect the quality of an individual’s healthcare, insurance, and employability. Studies have shown that having accurate and complete information about a patient’s medications or allergies can save billions of dollars per year in the US alone. HIM professionals and the skills that they bring will be needed to uphold patient identity integrity and correctly match all existing records for that individual.
Data analysis is crucial for translating data into information that can utilized in effective ways. HIM professionals have long been lauded as the individuals who can tell the stories behind the numbers, explaining such concepts as morbidity, mortality, and diagnosis statistics. In the last few years, then numbers and stories have grown in volume and complexity. The drive for knowledge means HIM professionals will have to be able to creatively use the data to improve their work and the work of their facility.
Recognized as a healthcare imperative, information governance establishes the policy-level rules, investment priorities and accountabilities for managing the lifecycle of information.
Effective information governance reinforces the value of information as a critical asset for healthcare transformation. It improves organizational performance through proactive compliance, the effective use of information and by controlling costs. Information governance advances trusted information, essential for patient engagement and for public and community health.