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Initial Career Plan – Transition After Graduation

One of CHIMA’s focuses is assisting young Health Information Management (HIM)
professionals when making career decisions post-graduation. All of the competencies
developed from education and workplace experience apply to the sub-sections of HIM; Privacy,
Electronic Health Records (EHR), Leadership, and Research & Decision Support. The HIM field
is rapidly evolving, and there is a growing increase of demand for roles in all four specialities.

The Future of HIM
One of my main incentives for pursuing an education and career in HIM is the fact that it
is a rapidly evolving field with a high demand for professionals in both American and Canadian
healthcare. As mentioned in CHIMA’s Human Resources Outlook 2014-2019, the U.S. Bureau
of Labour Statistics estimated in its 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook that e-health
investments will generate approximately 200,000 new IT jobs. Demand for individuals who are
trained in the HIM field is steadily increasing, and more programs are being accredited by the
Canadian College of Health Information Management as a result. In 2009, there were 16 HIM
programs throughout Canada that were CCHIM accredited. In 2014, the number had increased
to 19 accredited institutions. It is also estimated that over this 5 year span, the demand to
replace current HIM professionals will create approximately 5,000 jobs, and growth of the field
will create additional jobs ranging from 1,100 to 7,200 open positions.
Changes in the investment and implementation environment are factors that affect the
creation of HIM jobs. E-health investments have increased, and the Government of Canada has
allocated $2.2 billion to the “Canada Health Infoway” (CHI). CHI is responsible for assisting
partners with strategic directing, investing in e-health projects across Canada, and for helping
jurisdictions implement new systems. They provide certification for organizations that have
implemented e-health innovations. Improvements in the usage and attitude towards electronic
medical records (EMR) is significantly affecting the future of HIM positively. In Human
Resources Outlook, it is mentioned how studies have shown that physician EMR usage has
grown from 37% in 2009 to 64% in 2013. As more organizations adopt innovative HIM solutions,
the demand for professionals that can help implement and maintain these systems will continue
to increase.

CHIMA’s Transition Roadmap
CHIMA’s transitional roadmap is designed to show the different paths of HIM, and their
corresponding competencies. Each specialization has its own unique skillset, which are
obtained through further education and work experience. The roadmap lists the core skills
acquired from post-secondary HIM education; however they are not sufficient to fully excel in a
HIM specialization. Some of the core competencies of a newly graduated HIM professional
include knowledge of privacy, project management, change management, data quality, and
clinical content. The branch of HIM that interests me most is research and decision support,
because it relates to my previous working experiences at London Health Sciences Center.
Research and decision support requires constant communication with other health care
professionals as well as upper management. I enjoy contributing to large projects, and this field
is essential for the implementation of innovative solutions because management cannot make
decisions without required information.

Research and Decision Support – Why this branch relates to me
Some of the competencies required for R&DS include knowledge of database
management, data analysis, data reporting, and epidemiology. While these topics are
addressed in HIM education, work experience and further education are required to effectively
assist the decisions made by management. Having worked in a high-paced medical office
environment, I understand how one professional may rely on the work of another in order to
complete their tasks. I worked in the recruitment section of Human Resources at LHSC, and
one of my roles included preparing new hire applications for management so that they could
proceed with the interview process. I would convert paper applications into PDF versions so that
they could be sent to a third-party screening company for a background check. Without my
portion completed, they could not move forward with a decision. Essentially, I was supporting
management decisions. Database management was also present in my role, as I would add
degree credential abbreviations to a database so that the system (Oracle Peoplesoft) would be
able to recognize the credentials of applicants. This would support management hiring decisions
because it would narrow down the list of applicants to only those who qualify for an open
position.

Career Plan
Following graduation, I plan to first challenge the CHIMA professional examination so
that I can be recognized as a HIM professional, and so that I can access the tools and services
that can help me specialize in research and decision support. There is a variety of Professional
Practice Briefs regarding R&DS available through CHIMA’s online site. For example, “The
Domino Effect of Data Quality” is a practice brief that discusses how important it is to ensure the
highest quality of data in order to avoid errors and adverse incidents. High quality data is
essential for well- made management decisions. If I choose to develop R&DS competencies
through education, I have the option of pursuing a master’s degree in order to specialize. Some
Universities that offer Master’s degrees in this specialization include the Stockholm University in
Sweden, and the Spatial Analysis program at Ryerson University. My overall current objective is
to use my past experiences, continue developing my current HIM competencies, and to
specialize post-graduation in order to bring an effective skillset to any organization.