HIM Student Corner!

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Hello everyone: I am pleased and excited to present our first HIM student posting! This also appears on Excellence in Health Information. Please allow me to introduce Mark Domm. Mark is a Health Information Management student in his senior year at the University of Pittsburgh. He is from Pittsburgh and hopes to pursue quality management and eventually consulting when he graduates. Thank you to Mark and to the University of Pittsburgh HIM department for letting us borrow him.

Here is what he has to say…

I’ll go ahead and speak for all of us students. Way back when our collective educational journeys began, the most any of us could envision at the mention of “Health Information Management” was musty medical records, drab thumb accessories utilized for flipping through drab medical records, and all of this occurring in, you guessed it, a drab medical records setting. Leading others in this environment (if you can call giving others instructions on where to file what leading) was as good as it was going to get (if you can call that good).

Many of us found ourselves in Health Information Management. And “found ourselves” is the most accurate way to put it. We didn’t seek this area out for the most part. Circumstances seemed to dictate this chosen career path more than desire, and most of our beginning clinical experiences (i.e. smack dab in outdated medical records departments) and classes (the history of coding followed by… well coding) cemented this thinking. The Anatomy and Physiology didn’t exactly dissuade us to think about things differently either.

I would venture to say that for most of us what we envision when presented with the term “Health Information Management” has changed dramatically, and that is putting it lightly. In fact all of my ideas about it are upside-down. After all of the subsequent classes and experiences and speakers I can’t help but view Health Information Management with wide eyes.

Now I am speaking boldly here, and I believe that I need to back up my change of heart and big words with some hard evidence. At one hospital the medical records department is being torn down because it is going completely electronic; where before there were files and people hunched over files there are now construction workers constructing. Consultants have been relating stories of flying everywhere on someone else’s dime. We have been presented with the reality that everything (and I mean everything) is going to be completely and utterly overhauled in the healthcare world (i.e. ICD-9 to 10). Technology that is in some cases ancient (that might be an exaggeration) such as telemedicine is the basis for new and revolutionary technology. Even the rooms that healthcare is taking place in is becoming smart (for example the case of the room that is literally called the Smart Room).

Frankly the last couple months have been a whirlwind of examples of Health Information Management Workers of all walks of life involved in a dizzying number of healthcare settings, the least of which is the traditional medical records department. And some of the stories related to us by HIM workers have ranged from touching (working with very troubled kids) to exciting (training in different parts of the country) to alarming (hole punchers flung in anger and defaced property).

Although I can’t pinpoint the precise moment, somewhere in there the subtle grimace I would display at the mention of my major changed. More and more I’m realizing that the future in HIM really is a bright one.

-Mark Domm

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