According to your pocket calendar, we should be celebrating Health Information Management Professionals this month. However, their recognition week has been moved to October. To give you a preview of what a HIMP does, read more about Gina.
Coming to Canada in 2009 as an immigrant from the Philippines, Gina initially wanted to be an accountant as a career change from being a teacher back home for 12 years. Her interest as a Health Information Management Professional started when her husband first took up the program and landed a job at Saskatoon City Hospital while being a student, working in the Health Records Department. From there, the rest was history.
Gina finished the two year program and passed the national exam in 2017. Prior to her current role as an inpatient coder, she took up various duties, doing release of information and ER coding. To become an inpatient coder, she needed to take the initial coding test followed by an SHA sponsored special one year coding course that had to be finished in three months. After the special coding course, Gina was under the mentorship of an experienced coder for about 4-6 weeks.
Being an inpatient coder involves extensive knowledge of the Canadian Coding Standards, proficiency in code search using folios (International Classification of Diseases and Canadian Classification of Health Interventions), and a full grasp of various databases/programs like Sunrise Clinical Manager, Perceptive and Winrecs.
Initially, Gina says coding can be really daunting and overwhelming, but like any endeavor, that's just the beginning. What she likes about inpatient coding is that she's able to tell the patients' stories from the time they enter the hospital to the time they leave using codes and an abstraction of various data aspects of the patients' stays. Gina describes her job as like a perplex game that when solved you get to appreciate the complete picture. Beyond completing the "puzzle", the data that Gina and her team collects is crucial in the process of decision making, research and has various data uses. She's happy to be a part of it all at the very beginning, painting their stories.
What's fulfilling for Gina after doing this work for a while now is being able to share her knowledge through student mentorship, being able to help out students to understand and appreciate health data coding.
She hopes that in the future, since coding is now paperless, that HIMPs can work from home without exposing themselves to the possibility of acquiring hospital-related illnesses.
When we think about health care, it's important to think of Gina and the other Health Information Management Professionals that work with such diligence to capture the stories of our patients. You truly make a difference! Thank you for all that you do.