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Health Information Defined
Health information sounds like a vague and ambiguous term. It means different things to different people. In this article, Nitin Chhoda ‘breaks it down’ and defines health information in a manner that makes it meaningful for a private practice owner.
Nitin also highlights the implications of health information (and its privacy) for your practice.
Health information refers to medical records, health records, and communication regarding patients that is sent between hospitals, doctor’s offices, health insurance companies, and anyone else in the health care industry, physical therapy management practice included.
Health Information and Technology
As technology improves, health information that must be transferred between clinics, or even between a clinician and nurses in the same practice, is traveling faster.
That means that we now can send sensitive and personal information with a single keystroke.
The technological improvements that are coming to all medical clinics are making communication simpler, faster, and more efficient, but some worry that health information will not be managed as well as before. A paper document is somewhat cumbersome when compared to electronic medical records or electronic health records.
Due to concerns about security and privacy, an entire industry has grown up around health care information management. But the management of health information didn’t start as a technological career – health information management has been around in the United States since the late 1920s. It is now possible to earn a degree or certificate in health information management.
The Skilled Professionals
Naturally, with improvements in technology there has been an increase in the need for skilled health information professionals who are also technologically savvy. In fact, many information health professionals are in favor of moving to entirely electronic systems to manage medical records and health records.
Medical records are used internally, within a single clinic or practice, but often must be accessed by more than one person. Nurses and clinicians, as well as receptionists, may need to know what is going on with a patient so that the proper tests are scheduled and performed.
Having an electronic medical records system allows for quick and easy access for everyone charged with caring for a patient. The same can be said for electronic health records, and many health information managers will say this is an area where electronic records are even more beneficial.
Electronic Health Records
Health records that must be passed from a surgeon to a primary care provider, or from a doctor to a physical therapist, can be more easily, efficiently, and securely transported using electronic health records.
For every insurance claim, healthcare providers must fill out certain paperwork and ensure that there are no mistakes.
This form of health record can cause problems when it is not filled out correctly, as an insurance company can reject a claim even if a small mistake is made.
Health information professionals often encourage healthcare providers to use electronic systems because electronic health records tend to be more accurate and are less likely to be filled out incorrectly than paper records.