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|Let's Talk About Series|
In an era of transition and change, the healthcare documentation industry faces critical challenges and decisions. Healthcare system reform, regulatory oversight, shifting and emerging roles, competing technologies, and the pressures of a global marketplace combine to present a daunting prospect for our sector. Where will the traditional medical transcription and emerging healthcare documentation professions fit in the future of healthcare delivery? What opportunities and challenges need our immediate and long-term attention? What is AHDI doing to usher our workforce and other stakeholders through these changes? Where do we need more engagement, better resources, or subject matter expertise?
What is presented below is a series of detailed open letters on several issues of key importance for our members and for all health documentation practitioners. Former AHDI directors guided the Town Hall discussions and have authored the accompanying open letters in the hope of sparking meaningful debate, healthy discourse, and potential solutions for our sector.
Emerging Roles in Clinical Documentation
This Let’s Talk About section has an Open Letters authored by former directors Kristin Hagen, Ava George, and Brett McCutcheon. These essays discuss in detail some of the significant workplace changes that continue to impact our community today: The emergence of medical scribes as a new type of healthcare documentation practitioner, the impact of speech recognition technology and concomitant emergence of speech recognition editing, also a fairly new (and growing) practice in healthcare documentation, and key employment issues that will challenge both employers and practitioners into the future.
The Transcription Marketplace
In the open letters, Susan Lucci presents detailed information about outsourcing and offshoring trends, including the effects of federal legislation and related developments; Karen Fox-Acosta discusses the facts and controversies surrounding offshoring of transcription services and provides a glimpse of the politics behind one legislative struggle over this issue; and Sherry Doggett explores health documentation ethical best practice in an increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment with a global reach.
These topics remain important for AHDI members and all healthcare documentation practitioners. In January 2012, AHDI and Bentley University published the results of the 2011 EHR Future Roles Survey, developed by a team of academic researchers in collaboration with AHDI’s Managers and Supervisors Alliance; this survey report can be found on AHDI’s web site in the Body of Knowledge section. Also see “Healthcare and the Electronic IT Revolution." An important first step in preparing for a changing workplace might be to take AHDI’s course “Mastering the Electronic Health Record.” AHDI members will find numerous articles in Plexus that carry on the discussion of market and workplace developments and trends. The September/October 2013 issue presents and analyzes a landmark lawsuit (“The Juno Case”) demonstrating a real-world intersection of global markets with changing healthcare documentation environments and the quality of patient care. And the theme of the November/December 2013 issue is “Career Paths,” with articles about current and future healthcare documentation roles.
The Value of Association
In this section of the Let’s Talk About series, four AHDI directors discuss some of the multiple roles of AHDI, particularly in terms of advocating for the narrative health story, patient safety, and the critical importance of an educated, credentialed and empowered healthcare documentation workforce. Barb Marques presents in detail what exactly a professional association such as AHDI can and cannot do in terms of globalization, technological change, compensation, credentialing and professional development. In the second letter, Kristin Hagen and Susan Lucci tackle the complexities and increasing importance of quality assurance in an electronic and global environment. Inside their letter are several links to key documents and studies relating to quality best practices. Finally, Karen Fox-Acosta explains some of the planning and activities AHDI undertakes in advocating and building alliances to further association goals of healthcare documentation quality and patient safety. Karen’s letter also contains numerous links to other resources related to these topics.
Professional Credentialing – The Future of MT
In this Let’s Talk About section, the open letter authored by former directors Sherry Doggett and Kristin Hagen addresses the important question of credentials held by AHDI directors themselves, making the argument that the association embraces both leadership and membership diversity.
Acting on a firm commitment to collaboration and dialog, AHDI sponsored the Let’s Talk About series. As described above, that commitment remains strong, and the association continues to offer a variety of forums and avenues for all healthcare practitioners to participate and to be heard. The issues discussed in the series continue to be important areas for AHDI action, and the association encourages all our community members to step forward, use our resources, and constructively express opinions on these and any other significant issues of concern.