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AHDI engages in year-long, proactive advocacy to promote the critical value and contributory role of the healthcare documentation sector in tandem with the goals of the US system for interoperable health information exchange, meaningful healthcare reform, and health information privacy and security. AHDI collaborates with other clinical documentation organizations, such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), to ensure patient health information is captured, documented, standardized, accessed, and regulated in a way that supports coordinated care, clinical decision-making, appropriate reimbursement, and risk management. To that end, AHDI considers the following advocacy areas to be mission-critical for the association, its members, and this sector:
Patient Health Story
The healthcare documentation industry and the professionals who work within it play a critical role in making sure patients in the US health system have an accurate, comprehensive, and secure health record. Historically, care providers have relied upon the ability to dictate the details of a health encounter and have that “story” documented either by a transcriptionist or speech recognition technology (SRT) and an editor. As healthcare delivery moves toward a nationwide health information exchange network via electronic health record (EHR) systems, the ability to preserve the full story of patient’s health will be a critical consideration. EHR systems will need functionality for receiving and processing codified narrative reports so that meaningful use criteria can be met without compromising patient health stories.
AHDI advocates for the patient health story by:
AHDI fully supports our nation’s goals for EHR adoption. Successful integration of EHRs into the DNA of healthcare delivery will facilitate health information exchange on a global scale with the goal of improving both coordination of care and public health but only if those EHRs are shaped around standards and best practices for capturing and managing patient health information in a practical, patient-centric manner. Our sector has historic perspective, expertise, and innovative solutions that address how patient health stories need to be captured, formatted, and documented. We have the unique ability to facilitate truly practical EHR adoption in a way that preserves America’s healthcare story – so that the focus isn’t just on patient health data, but rather on meaningful patient health information.
AHDI advocates for standards-driven EHR adoption by:
Health Information Exchange (HIE)
AHDI recognizes that the success of a Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) will greatly depend on how quickly and to what degree health information is able to be exchanged across disparate healthcare enterprises. While many organizations are scrambling to define interoperability and build the framework for information exchange, the healthcare documentation sector has the advantage of ready access to America’s health records and innovative solutions and strategies for enabling the exchange of that health data through a secure network.
AHDI advocates for meaningful health information exchange by:
Health Record Privacy & Security
Safeguarding patient health information is a core value for AHDI, its members, and the healthcare documentation industry. Few objectives are more important to this sector than protecting the privacy and security of patient health information. As EHRs are developed and an NHIN is established, the scrutiny around health record access and security will only increase. Clear and practical standards, regulations, and certification processes must continue to be developed to ensure the protection of health information in a way that will meet EHR adoption goals. In addition, anyone who has access to protected health information will need to be trained, certified, and held accountable to those privacy and security standards before access to that protected information is granted.
AHDI advocates for health record privacy and security by:
A number of internal and external factors are generating workforce challenges for this sector. An aging and retiring traditional transcription workforce, compensation challenges, the competitive nature of a global marketplace, and emerging technologies like SRT and EHRs – all are contributing to critical gaps in our once robust workforce. The number of educated, trained, and technologically savvy specialists in this sector is presently insufficient to meet the needs of a burgeoning healthcare delivery system, where documentation demands are only expected to increase. Commoditization of service delivery has had a negative impact on both billing and compensation for the sector, making it harder than ever before to recruit workforce candidates into the profession. Recruitment, training, and deployment of a next generation healthcare documentation professional will be critical to this sector’s longevity, which must include an investment in current workforce candidates to retool and repurpose the tacit knowledge and skills of those candidates toward other emerging HIM, EHR, and documentation roles.
AHDI advocates for workforce development by:
Value of the Healthcare Documentation Knowledge Worker
Accurate, high-integrity documentation of a patient’s health story does not happen in a vacuum, nor can it be accomplished by placing that documentation burden solely on the shoulders of the patient’s care provider. Preserving America’s healthcare story (See #1 above) will continue to require a partnership between physicians and the documentation team – highly skilled, analytical quality assurance specialists who provide risk management support in capturing healthcare encounters and making sure they are documented and formatted in a way that promotes clinical clarity and coordinated care. Even in settings where narrative capture may not be enabled, someone needs to be positioned to ensure accurate documentation of those care encounters and identify gaps, errors, and inconsistencies in the record that may compromise care or compromise compliance goals (ie, meaningful use, core measures, PQRI criteria, RACs, etc.). Beyond traditional transcription and speech recognition editing, which are likely to continue for some time, healthcare documentation specialists are a best-fit, ready-made solution to the need for quality monitoring in EHR-enabled settings. It is AHDI’s strong position that the tacit knowledge of this sector’s workforce should be deployed in any setting where healthcare encounters are being documented to preserve the integrity of health information. A great deal of visibility around the contributory value of our workforce still needs to be generated so that decisions and standards around health data capture and documentation are made with the expertise and guidance of this sector.
AHDI advocates for the value of the healthcare documentation knowledge worker by:
AHDI and its partners believe that focused and coordinated attention to these six advocacy areas will yield greater visibility for this sector, increased opportunity for engagement in and contribution to the development of regulatory standards and specifications around health information management, and greater oversight and control over the evolution of this sector and its future.
Download this agenda in full-color .pdf format here.
2/19/2017 » 2/23/2017
HIMSS17 Annual Conference & Exhibition
7/13/2017 » 7/15/2017
2017 Healthcare Documentation Integrity Conference