Hi, I am Nate Osit. I work in health information management as a transcription coordinator. I am responsible for managing transcription work flow, providing QA feedback, and supporting the medical coding staff. I have been in my position for over two years. I plan using this blog to explore the electronic medical landscape.
A little more about myself. Before working in HIM, I went to the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. I didn’t plan on entering the healthcare field. In fact, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, so I studied English. With a minor in Philosophy. When this comes up in conversation, I always prepare myself for the inevitable eye rolls, scoffs, and that dreaded question, “So what did you want to do with your degree?”
My answer is- I wasn’t sure! However, I felt that my course of study gave me a solid base for any career I would pursue. My English degree gave me a foundation in communications skills, semantics, syntax, and grammer. My study of philosophy gave me an in depth understanding of logic, arguments, and rhetoric. A career in healthcare never crossed my mind, but I have adapted well to the new environment.
I’m also a big believer in experiential learning. In my sophomore year of high school I felt that I wasn’t learning enough, so I petitioned the superintendent to allow me to drop out and home-school myself for a year. He agreed, and I had a great learning experience. I returned the next year to finish my junior and senior curricula in one year.
Well, enough about me, let’s talk about healthcare IT! According to a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine, 98,000 people die each year as a result of medical errors. Adoption of electronic health records is an essential component in improving the quality and safety of patient care. Clinical staff need to familiarize themselves with emerging technology in order to facilitate this improvement.
Healthcare IT is not simple. Snomed CT, a multilingual compendium of clinical terminology, contains 310,000 active concepts, 990,000 english descriptions, and 1.38 million relationships. No paper version exists. The HL7 version 2.6 standard now has 1,965 pages and 717,000 words. (Tim Benson, Principles of Health Interoperability, 2010) We need guidance to navigate our way through the complexities of these standards in order to create the tools that will change the healthcare industry.
Complex though it may seem, we need to forge ahead to realize the extensive benefits healthcare IT has to offer. When all the disparate elements come together, we will have more secure patient health records, significant reductions in medical errors, increased patient safety, reliable quality reporting, more reliable and timely charge capturing, and a patient population that feels involved in their care in ways they never believed possible. At that point, it will no longer be mere healthcare IT. By combining all of these complex elements together, we can create something greater. Something beautiful in function and form.