Happy Health Information Professionals Week! This year’s theme “Driven by Health Data” hits home for me as a Health Information Management (HIM) professional. Reliable, valid, complete, secure and accessible clinical data is the lifeblood of healthcare and being “driven by health data” is exactly what should motivate HIM professionals’ actions and intentions every day.

As we think about HIP week, it’s a common practice to reflect on the diverse roles HIM professionals play across the healthcare landscape. Regardless of our roles and the setting in which we perform those roles, our shared goal is to advance the management of clinical data for the betterment of healthcare delivery. And I would add for the enablement of clinical research, patient registries, drug discovery and improving public health surveillance. Collectively, our profession advances the capabilities for capturing data that can be exchanged and transformed into information that informs patient care decisions, strategy, discoveries, and reimbursement schemas.

HIM educational programs are expanding their offerings and updating curriculum to reflect the continuous evolution of the US healthcare landscape. The focus is more on the life cycle and management of data which includes a focus on health data models, vocabularies, analytics and emerging technologies such as natural language processing and machine learning.

HIP week is also a good time to reflect on where we have been and how we are currently contributing to healthcare. It’s time to assess skill sets and set continuing education goals for the coming year. My own personal journey has included roles in acute care as an ROI specialist, a coder, HIM director, consultant and leadership roles within Life Sciences. My current career focus is in Life Sciences.

Life Sciences relates to the sciences that include organisms like human beings, animals and plants. My specific interest of Life Sciences focuses on organizations in the field of Oncology, pharmaceutical science, Pharmacoeconomics, biomedical and biotechnology. These organizations are engaged in building patient registries for insights on specific populations; discovery and commercialization of drugs and innovative procedures and therapies and perform clinical trials, drug safety studies, and health economics and outcomes research. Like any healthcare entity, Life Sciences is dependent on health data. The Life Science field has a growing interest in transforming Real World Data (RWD)– data sources such as electronic health records, patient registries, patient reported outcomes, diagnostic images, and claims data such as pharmacy and administrative claims, into Real World Evidence (RWE). At the end of 2018, the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) published a framework for RWD and RWE. It includes guidance on data collection and using RWD in clinical research. Information about the use of EHR’s and other data sources for life science data collection activities are noted on the FDA’s website. The FDA guidance opens data doors for Life Sciences research and is critical for HIM professionals to understand given that clinical documentation, EHR’s and disease registries are data sources to be leveraged for clinical research/life sciences.

As you prepare for your own future roles or deepen current ones, I recommend the following activities as we celebrate HIP week:

  1. Learn more about Life Sciences and how the industry is preparing to use Real World Data for clinical research. From the role you play today, determine how to best help your organization ensures that data sources reflect the patient journey and are reliable, complete and valid for use in research.
  2. Network with your life science colleagues – They work in Pharma, Biotech, Health Plans, and at Ciox! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me for more conversation: Patty.Sheridan@cioxhealth.com
  3. Recognize the growing need for data across the healthcare system. How can you best prepare for what lies ahead?
  4. Learn more about research pathways – https://www.fortherecordmag.com/archives/ND18p8.shtml
  5. Raise awareness of the HIM professional contribution to healthcare in all your walks of life

For additional blogs related to management of data:

https://www.healthcareittoday.com/2018/11/27/from-fragmented-to-coordinated-the-big-data-challenge/

https://www.healthcareittoday.com/2018/08/15/centralizing-him-operations-an-enterprise-approach/

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