Preparing for new roles in health information management
Sayles, Nanette Burchfield
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This national quantitative research study surveyed Registered Health Information Administrators (RHIA) to learn about their level of preparedness for the new roles facing them. The Health Information Management profession is a profession in transition as a result of changes in laws, technology, and the healthcare delivery system. As a result, new roles have been identified by the American Health Information Management Association. There has not been any research on whether or not the RHIA is participating in continuing education to prepare for the new roles. This survey was designed to provide practical information to the RHIA and the American Health Information Management Association that could be used for two purposes: identify the level of diffusion of the new roles into the RHIA population and to help motivate RHIAs to prepare for the future. There were four independent variables addressed on the self-administered questionnaire: awareness of new roles, deterrents to participation, motivation to participate and the perceived importance of the new roles. The dependent variable was the amount of participation in continuing education on the new roles. The amount of participation was expressed in hours. Mean, standard deviation, frequencies, multiple regression and additive scales were used to answer the research questions. Findings showed that a large percentage of RHIAs did not know about the new roles. Many of the RHIAs knew the new roles existed, only had a basic level of awareness. It also found that awareness of the new roles, motivations to participate and deterrents to participation affected the amount of participation in continuing education in which the RHIA was involved. It was also discovered that RHIAs believed the new roles were important to the future of the Health Information Management profession. This means that the future of the Health Information Management profession is not assured since the RHIAs are not preparing for the new roles. The good news is that the RHIAs believe the new roles are on track for the future. Spearman correlation, Chi square, ANOVA, and T-tests were used to conduct additional research which found that older RHIAs and those with more experience in Health Information Management were more likely to participate in continuing education. The additional research also found that having children under the age of 18 in the home deterred participation and that when the RHIA’s job required maintenance of the credential increased participation. These findings indicate that the future of the Health Information Management profession is not secure. The RHIA is not preparing for the new roles being created by changes in healthcare and technology. The RHIA needs to be educated on the importance of preparing for the future otherwise the profession may become obsolete. To do this, the RHIA needs to develop a career plan. Also the RHIA needs to be motivated to participate in continuing education to prepare for these new roles. This motivation could be accomplished many ways such as mandating continuing education on the new roles or removing the barriers to participation. Only when the RHIA is prepared for these new roles will the future of the profession be assured.