What Does A Health Information Manager Do?

The utilization of health information systems more extensively by healthcare settings has led to the rise of a new breed of professionals—that of health information managers. Tasked to maintain and secure patient records, health information managers bring together healthcare, business and information technology as they go about their daily tasks. They are responsible for handling health information systems and must see to it that the databases are comprehensive, correct and secure.

The core tasks of health information managers involve collecting, storing, analyzing and distributing of healthcare information to those who are authorized to view it. The data they provide are integral in helping healthcare providers arrive at better medical decisions as they formulate treatment plans for the welfare of their patients. They also need to consolidate different kinds of healthcare information from various sources.

Health information managers design, establish and track health information systems using the knowledge they possess about various medical conditions and surgical operations and their technical savvy about computer systems and databases. They get and consolidate information about each patient each time they see a physician or other healthcare providers.

Since they literally hold patient information at their fingertips, health information managers also play a key role in securing patient data. In order to protect these sensitive medical records, they establish protocols that would only release the data to those who are authorized to have it. They institute safety procedures and passwords geared towards safeguarding patient information. They must also stay ahead of unscrupulous individuals who might want to infiltrate the system for their own illegal purposes. In the event that they notice that the system has been hacked, they know the steps to take to ensure that the rest of the data is protected. Since the integrity of patient data must be held sacrosanct, health information managers must take extra steps to beef up the security of their system after it has been breached to ensure that it won’t happen again.

Health information managers must see to it that the health information system they create and maintain comply with all legal and ethical standards. As such, they need to be familiar with the laws that govern the creation and monitoring of electronic health records.

When they are not busy monitoring the hospital’s health information systems, health information managers take care of the day-to-day operations of the health information department. They supervise the work of their staff, hire and train new employees if needed and find ways to improve the system. They also keep touch with other departments in the hospital if there are questions concerning the records of patients. If there is any information that they are not sure of, they have to clarify with the doctor or healthcare provider so that only accurate information is entered in the patient’s file.

Health information managers need to be able to express themselves clearly because their job is not only confined to looking at the computer all day long. They have to communicate with physicians and health insurance representatives in the course of their work. Health insurers deny or approve patients’ claims based on their health records so if there are discrepancies or problems with the data they are given, they will need to get in touch with health information managers.

Career Spotlight: Health Information Manager

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