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Health Information Managers, Research Paper Example  

Pages: 6

Words: 1689

Research Paper

Introduction

Professionals in health information management are responsible for the collection, recording, reviewing and managing all the information which concerns matters of health (Clay & Gardner, 2007). They are responsible for the safeguarding of the privacy, confidentiality and integrity of the health information. They also gather and make an interpretation of the data concerning health matters for the purpose of decision making which affect the delivery of health services by the organizations they are representing (Clay, & Gardner, 2007). They are also referred to as information specialists, information clerks, technician for health records, administrative support personnel or health care technologist. They must have had a training or education of not less than two years after their completion of the secondary school education level (White, Gullen & Joy, 2008).

The health information management professional usually manages information concerning the records of health of the patients, which contain their medical histories, the diseases they have ever suffered in the past, the medications they were given, what was the result of the treatment, any drugs the patient is usually on and if there is a history of allergy to any substance, whether food or drugs (Government of Alberta, Employment and Immigration, 2007). This is very crucial information which must be kept very confidentially (Medical Library Association, 2001). Therefore the information management officer has a duty to perform this role. The records also include notes from various physicians who have seen this patient before, the forms for which the physicians prescribed the medicine, any input from another member of the team in charge of treatment of the patient, results from the laboratories of other investigations like the ultra sound and lastly when the patient needs to report again to the doctor and any regular health service needed by the patient, for example cleaning of a would.

Record Management

The health information professional is charged with the management of all the records pertaining to the patients and also the information contained in these records. They are responsible for the translation of information of patients which is in the form of hard copy that is paper work to become electronic records. They also convert the information pertaining to the diagnosis and interventions to the patient to a standard way which is universally accepted also know as the international classification system. They ensure that the records for every patient are fully completed, containing all the information and that the necessary information is not omitted from the records.

They take care of this information and only release this information if under conditions which are specified in the Health information act of Alberta. They also collect more information regarding a patient of their organization and their stays in the hospital so as to get accurate data concerning the population of the patients (Michael, & Clay, 2009). By use of computer applications, the sort, compile, retrieve, group, make an analysis and present this health data in  way or ways which are of great help in the planning of the health care system, research and education. The health statistics are then used in informing the complex decisions made in the health care system, which rage from the improvement of the care of the patients to allocation of the national resources for the health care. The health care management professional also stores the information in a manner that the information is readily accessible for release in the appropriate time when needed to the appropriate people.

Maintenance of Accuracy in Patients’ Data

The health care information management professional has to ensure that there are no errors entering of information concerning the patient data. They are under pressure to produce quality work and quantity work. Their work needs a very high degree of accuracy, attention and responsibility. They must be good in the various methodologies which can be used in the classification of information, using of the retrieval systems of the information and the response to the requests for the information.

Release of the Information When Necessary

The health information officer is the one who keeps the custody of the information concerning the health of the patients. He is the person who can release the information to the appropriate parties when such information is needed. He can decide not to divulge the information depending on the circumstances under which the information is needed. The health information manager weighs the reasons for which the health information is needed and makes a decision on whether to give the information or not. For example, the health information officer may decide to give the information of the patients to a doctor who has proved to be the one in charge of the management of the patient health. But for a relative who just wants to know about the health of just the patient, the health information officer may decide not to give the information. He weighs the reasons for which the health information is needed and makes an informed decision on whether to give out the information.

The health information management professional also decides on what information to give out. If it is the planning team which wants the information for the purpose of making decisions, the information may only give, for example, the total number of the patients who suffered from a certain disease like heart diseases. The professional may not give the names of the patients who suffered from the heart diseases. If the information is for teaching purposes, he may give the names of the patients as patient X or patient Y then give the information concerning the patient while concealing the identity of the patient. This ensures that the information has served the purpose it is needed for but without breaking the confidentiality of the patients’ information.

Legal Issues Concerning Information of Patients

The professional is also in charge of legal issues which concern the health of the patient. For example, a case in which there is a case in court of a patient who was raped. The health information officer is the one supposed to take the records to the court room and give the medical evidence on the findings of the doctor who saw the patient and examined him or her then managed him or her medically. This means that if there is a dispute concerning the health or the treatment of the patient, the health information management professional is the one who legally authorizes the release of the information concerning the patient.

On another note, if the patient confidentiality is breached, the health information officer is the one responsible for that. An individual who feels that the hospital or the organization has breached his or her, he sues the hospital with the health information management professional as one of the defendants. He is the person who should answer on issues of release of information about a patient. He should be very careful when releasing information about patients since it may bring legal issues. The health information officer reports to the director or the head of the organization. He is not authorized to discuss patient issues with other people who are directly not involved in the management of the patient.

Dilemma in the Health Care Management

An example of an ethical dilemma which the health care information management professional faces is for example, if the professional is a brother of a certain man who wants to get married to a certain lady. This lady the brother wants to marry presents to hospital with a sickness which later is established to be as a result of immune-suppression by the HIV virus. The brother to the health care management professional is not aware of this. The health care professional knows if he tells his brother about it, the brother will keep off from the lady and therefore avoid getting infected with the virus, therefore saving him from the virus. But according to the law and ethically, he is not supposed to release the patient information under such circumstances. Again, ethically it is not good not to warn the bro of the impeding danger and he will be responsible if the brother gets the disease. This is a dilemma for the professional in the health care information system management (Denis, & Joyce, 2004).

The Future of Health Information Management Profession

This profession is likely to be much more improved in the future due to the advances made in the information systems, for computing, presentation and storage of health information. There is high probability that the health care information management will get more and more complicated due to the technology which is getting more complicated day by day. It will also make it easier for the professionals in the management of information about patients easier. With the internet, health care managers of information can access the important health information from another hospital which will help in the management of that patient (Denis, & Joyce, 2004).

Conclusion

In conclusion, the health care management professional has roles which are related to the maintenance of information of the patients. He has to keep it as confidential as possible and avoid it leaking to people who are not authorized to have it. He is the one who is to allow other parties or people to get the information after weighing the reasons for which they need it. He is the one who makes the information available to decision makers in the process of making a decision. He must ensure that he maintains confidentiality in the information for patients by all means. Therefore he charged with an important role of safeguarding the information of the organization concerning the patients.

References

Clay, Z. M. & Gardner, M. K., (2007). Management of Information of Health care. New York: Longhorn Publishers.

Denis, M. & Joyce, N. M., (2004). Health Care Information. South Africa: Educational Publishers.

Gilbert, Soy. (2007). Management of Patient Information. New Jersey: Allied Press.

Government of Alberta, Employment and Immigration (2007, June). Health Information Management Professional. Retrieved February, 7th 2010 fromhttp://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/occinfo/Content/RequestAction.asp?aspAction=G tHTMLProfile&format=html&occPro_ID=71002536.

Medical Library Association(2001, August ). Promoting New Roles for health information professionals. Retrieved February, 7th 2010 from  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC64761/

Michael, S. & Clay, X. M., (2009). Health Care Information Management: Duties and roles. India: United Printing Press.

White, B. M., Gullen, B. K. & Joy, M. N. (2008). Health Management: Ethical issues of Medical information. London: Freeman publishers.

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