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"Career Pathing" Your HIM Department

Posted by Andrea Romero, RHIA, Chief Operating Officer on Mar 22, 2017 9:14:55 AM

careerpathing.jpgHIM departments across the country are continually challenged to retain their most highly skilled professionals. Quality coders are in high demand and HIM professionals are looking more and more to enhance their career opportunities. As a long time HIM department leader I have experienced first hand the difficulty of developing career paths for employees. The good news is that the HIM segment is poised for continued growth with job opportunities expected to grow by 15% by 2024. With a little planning and a commitment to your people you can make your facility a “destination” for HIM professionals.

Below are 3 key areas you can focus on that will help you improve the morale, reduce employee turnover, and optimize the efficiencies of your department.

  1. Create informatics roles that leverage the ongoing evolution of your EMR. Everyone has gone through an EMR implementation or continually deals with upgrades and system enhancements. Creating roles in your department that help make these transitions more seamless is extremely valuable. For example, a HIM IT Manager role can be the primary connection to your vendor on everything from upgrades to interfaces to ensure you are maximizing your utilization of the system. Another vital role is that of a HIM IT Liaison. Who better to assist coders with connectively and troubleshooting than an educated HIM/informatics professional? This not only offers a new career opportunity for someone but will effectively keep your coders focused on coding versus dealing with system issues. As you mature in the area of informatics you accumulate greater competencies in the areas of data mining and analysis which can help you create more actionable insights and predictive models making your department more efficient and effective.
  2. Education and training. The saying “you never stop learning” certainly applies to coding. Ongoing education and training is critical to maintaining and increasing quality. This segment offers numerous potential role opportunities to create an environment of continuous learning in your department. Your educator can focus on everything from coding best practices, reporting, EMR utilization, workforce development, CDI education, and HIPAA security. There is no lack of educational and training needs that your can implement that will make your department better and your employees more satisfied because you are investing in their future.
  3. Broadening skills to adjacent roles in the revenue cycle. Coding is central to the total revenue cycle process but there are other roles that ultimately connect to HIM that could appeal to your current employees. Positions such as Reimbursement Analyst, Denials Manager, and Edits Coordinator are a few that an HIM professional can use their foundational skills and create a different career path that spans other parts of the revenue cycle.

Do any other career paths come to mind besides these? Please share your thoughts with me.