AHIMA offers 4 tips for getting started with population health
July 31, 2013 in Medical Technology
Dubbing population health management “the next HIM frontier,” the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offered health information management professionals waypoints for exploring new career possibilities.
“As data stewards, HIM professionals are critical to the success of information governance and data analytics in the emerging PHM programs,” Bonnie Cassidy, approved ICD-10-CM/PCS trainer and senior director of HIM innovation at Nuance Communications, wrote in the August Journal of AHIMA, adding that “new population health information management (PHIM) roles and functions will emerge” as the practice of population health management broadens.
Cassidy explained that healthcare organizations need to fundamentally understand what a healthy population looks like, how to define and measure clinical and financial risk, and which metrics can be used to analyze how patients with chronic disease get either better or worse.
A substantial hurdle is that tools for storing, managing and distributing such information are not widely available today, she explained, though they are “likely to evolve in the future.”
That reality presents the opportunity for HIM and HIT professionals to embark on “the most critical task,” which is to “ensure the integrity of clinical information at the point of care,” Cassidy wrote, by practicing these 4 tips:
- Embracing population health management and creatively developing new analytic tools and techniques
- Excelling in terminology, coding, and classification systems
- Focusing on clinical documentation integrity
- Ensuring proper data stewardship
Indeed, effectively practicing PHM will require the ability “to innovatively assess and stratify patient demographic and ICD-10 data into existing and emerging categories, such as categories for those that are well, at risk, and living with chronic conditions,” Cassidy wrote.
What’s more, because clinical documentation is key to so many national HIT reforms and initiatives across the care continuum and revenue cycle, today’s health data stewards are “in an excellent position to guide providers through every step of the clinical documentation integrity process.”
Cassidy added that “this area of responsibility will be expanded to include information privacy and security, and overseeing the rules of the game for documentation in EHRs and data repositories.”
[See also: Pop health analytics top ACO priority]