What’s hot in health information management: AHIMA predicts HIM topics making headlines in 2018

January 04, 2018
CHICAGO – Jan. 4, 2018 – From hot topics relating to cybersecurity and new privacy and security policies to an increasing demand for data analytics, health information management (HIM) professionals are predicting what they see as some of the biggest HIM stories in 2018.

In the article “Eight Predictions for ’18: Experts Prognosticate the Top HIM Topics for the Year Ahead, and Advise on How to Prepare,” experts from the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) discuss in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of AHIMA the eight key areas of HIM they expect to make news in 2018.

“Health information management is an integral part of the healthcare industry,” said Pamela Lane, interim CEO of AHIMA. “At a time when the industry continues to be in flux, HIM professionals are qualified to address and help meet the challenges and changes that 2018 will bring.”

Highlights from each key topic discussed in the article include:

1. Privacy and Security – While cybersecurity events will likely continue to make headlines in 2018, there are a number of policies related to privacy and security to watch for this year. This includes the issuing of “minimum necessary” requirements, guidance around mental health information and data sharing as required by the 21st Century Cures Act, Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and proposed rulemaking on the penalty sharing provision of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

2. Rules and Regulations – In addition to the 2018 budget affecting funding of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the forthcoming definition of “information blocking” defined by the 21st Century Cures Act will be a major story to look for due to its impact on a large portion of electronic health record users.

3. Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) – CDI specialists will continue to be deeply involved with claim denials in 2018 by helping to identify denials for coding and documentation that should be appealed as well as continue to expand to new and specialty areas of healthcare such as long-term care, home health, psychiatric units, and rehab facilities that call for high quality documentation.

4. Inpatient and Outpatient Coding – The four main issues impacting inpatient/outpatient coding in 2018 will be reimbursement, telemedicine, copy/paste and coding auditing. Also, starting in January, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) will require physicians to start reporting patient relationship modifiers.

5. Data Analytics – Demand for analytic services and projects will increase in 2018. Data analysts are expected to be busy helping providers participate in new payment models and revenue initiatives like MACRA.

6. Informatics – In the coming year, informaticists will help to mitigate physician burnout with electronic health records (EHRs) by streamlining processes to capture data in EHRs, protect patient-generated data in mobile apps and develop interfaces and dashboards for telehealth services.

7. Information Governance – In 2018, enterprise-wide retention policies and data quality will continue to cause cybersecurity challenges for providers, demonstrating the strong need for information governance programs to address them.

8. Education and Workforce – Upskilling existing practitioners for more advanced roles in data analytics and informatics, preparing academic faculty to teach higher-level content in data analytics and revising curriculums to ensure students are prepared to meet workplace needs are all education and workplace trends anticipated in 2018 and beyond.

Also in this issue:

In order to better understand patient’s perceptions about online patient portals and viewing doctors’ notes, researchers from the University of Washington School of Medicine and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center conducted a study of patient doctors’ note access through an OpenNotes initiative.

The article, “Who Reads Their Doctor’s Notes? Examining the Association between Preconceptions and Accessing Online Clinical Notes,” discusses the findings of the 2011 study, which included more than 9,000 participants from three geographically diverse locations. Most notably, the study found 92 percent of survey participants accessed at least one doctor note during the study period, while 8 percent did not due to baseline concerns about privacy issues.

Read these articles and more in the January issue of the Journal of AHIMA or online at journal.ahima.org.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) represents more than 103,000 health information professionals in the United States and around the world. AHIMA is committed to promoting and advocating for best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA is advancing informatics, data analytics, and information governance to achieve the goal of providing expertise to ensure trusted information for healthcare. www.ahima.org