Informatics in healthcare is becoming increasingly important, which is emphasized by the regulations and a shift towards using Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems. The Independence Medical Center, although it possesses an EHR system, does not benefit from its capabilities due to improper use that leads to financial and quality-related issues, which can be mitigated by hiring an information technology professional. The need to comply with the incentive program requirements and challenges that may arise when hiring an information technology professional is explained in this paper, which will help understand the role of this position in the context of EHR system implementation and potential issues.
Importance of Informatics Professional
The relationship with the Compliance to Meaningful Use or current incentive programs is emphasized by the transformations in the external environment of the industry. Abrams et al. (2017) outlined the changes that occur in the current healthcare environment. Those include alterations that transform the reimbursement practices and that are inseparably connected to EHR. Potential challenges that may obstruct hiring the right professional include a rapidly changing environment that can require an advanced set of skills and knowledge (Abrams et al., 2017). The current incentive program compliance of Vila Health Independence Medical Center lacks cohesiveness.
The HITECH Act requires health establishments to improve their health record practices to promote safety and quality of care in the country, which Independence Medical Center is currently not capable of achieving. Potential challenges that may arise due to a need for adhering to the incentive program requirements include a need to change Opus for a more effective system, which will consist of a need for substantial financial investment, transfer of records, and staff training. By hiring an information technology professional, the Independence Medical Center to be able to receive expert advice regarding a specific Electronic Healthcare Record (EHR) system that should be purchased as well as assistance in implementing it and supporting medical professionals in their training process.
Therefore, an information technology professional will help improve compliance by offering insight and developing strategies that will help address issues of different departments. According to Gibson, Abrams, and Dixon (2016), the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is designed to encourage establishments to adopt and utilize EHRs. Apart from that, HIPPA and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid are engaged in controlling the adherence of organizations. Sines (2017) stated that the efforts of regulatory departments are aimed at incorporating EHR systems in every hospital in the country.
Impact on the Independence Medical Center
Therefore, the inability to comply will result in a loss of revenue for the Independence Medical Center. The potential financial impact of hiring a new specialist is reflected in the Meaningful Use payouts that, according to Mushtaq (2015), were estimated at $375,00 in 2015, and it is anticipated that it will cost approximately $117,000 a year in salary payments (UV HIMT Team, 2016). Failing to achieve incentives from the current programs can cost the Independence Medical Center by both mitigating the possibility to access monetary incentives for the EHR programs and by reducing customer satisfaction rates, which can lead to a decrease in revenue.
The long-term costs and potential financial gains from the new hire include the ability to meet challenges presented by innovation and new practices in healthcare (Abrams et al., 2017).
If the health information professional is hired, the following knowledge gaps, unknown and missing information will be addressed – connection of internal processes with the EHR and impact of EHR application on patient outcomes and reimbursement. Thus, evidence provided by Abrams et al. (2017) suggests that adequate application of health information is critical for ensuring that innovational systems, for instance, EHR, do not obstruct physicians and other medical personnel but help them achieve better outcomes for their patients. In order to convince the leadership to support hiring, the issue of transformation, compliance with governmental programs, and problems that arise with an improper application of EHR can be explained.
Overall, the evidence reviewed in this executive summary provides an understanding of the critical role that an information technology professional has for the Independence Medical Center. The Appendix provides a job description for the information technology professional. Although this hospital has a patient data storage system, its application is not efficient because of a large number of essential functions, such as the ability to synchronize data between different departments or manage the sourcing of medication, which can be improved by hiring a proper professional.
The healthcare information manager will be responsible for implementing new practices of EHR that are compliant with the current standards, which will include an implementation of the new EHR, cooperation with vendors and medical personnel. The specifics of the job functions for this position include ensuring that the EHR system used by the Independence Medical Center operates efficiently, adjust the system to adhere to the requirements of the Meaningful Use Guidelines, contribute to the safety of patient data within the EHR, and assist physicians in training and use of the EHR. It is anticipated that the candidate will be able to choose and implement a coherent EHR that will incorporate and coordinate the work of all departments at this medical center.
Experience and Qualifications
Prior experience in working with Health Information Management (HIM) is necessary because this medical establishment is a large organization that incorporates several departments. A license from the American Health Information Management Association is required for this position (Gibson et al., 2016). Other certifications such as Registered Health Administration, Center for Health Information Management, or Registered Health Information Technician are applicable as well. A certificate in Healthcare Privacy and Security is necessary to ensure compliance with the Meaningful Use Guidelines.
Leadership skills are crucial for this position, as well as the ability to analyze data, solve problems, and present the new EHR to the personnel. The CAHIIM developed specific standards applicable to health informatics and provided tests that can be used to establish the knowledge and skills critical for health-related professionals (“About Us,” n.d.). Thus, the accreditation from CAHIIM provides reassurance that a hired professional will understand and comply with the global and national standards of healthcare and information technology management. According to Gibson et al. (2016), the candidate should have a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree from an educational establishment accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Health Information Management Education (CAHIIM). It is crucial for the candidate to have prior experience in managing a physicians’ practice or other healthcare organization that uses EHR similar to Opus.
Alignment with Organizational Goals
Specific job functions are connected to the goals that the Independence Medical Center aims to achieve through its work. The goals and needs of the Independence Medical Center include improvement of compliance with the Meaningful Use Guidelines and incentive programs, which will help improve internal processes and provide a better quality of health care services to patients. The skills and training will help the information professional to be successful because the field of health information is challenging and constantly evolving. Abrams et al. (2017) stated that technological innovation continues to radically transform the strategies of collecting, storing, and processing data. Additionally, the field of healthcare has significant specifics connected to patient safety and data privacy that should be understood by prospective candidates. Overall, it is expected that the candidate will have a degree in health information management and prior experience and that his or her vision for work will be compliant with that of the Independence Medical Center.
About us. (n.d.). Web.
Abrams, K., Carlon, S., Haugen, M., Mancilla, D., McElroy, K., Millen, M., … Sorensen, L. (2017). HIM reimagined outlines bold new future for HIM profession. Journal of AHIMA, 88(6), 22-25.
Gibson, C., Abrams, K., & Dixon, B. (2015). Convergent evolution of health information management and health informatics. Applied Clinical Informatics, 6(1), 163-184. Web.
Mushtaq, F. (2015). Ensuring EHR compliance for Meaningful Use. Health Management Technology, 36(7), 16-7.
Sines, G. (2017). Potential effects of the electronic health record on the small physician practice: A Delphi study. Perspectives in Health Information Management, 14(Spring). Web.
UV HIMT Team. (2016). Top 5 highest health information technology jobs salaries. Web.