In honor of Health Information Management Week, we sat down with Linda McKone, manager of Health Information Management Operations at Connecticut Children’s to discuss what happens behind-the scenes to keep patient information safe and secure.
Patient care is typically thought of as the hands-on process of treating and healing. Linda McKone, Operations Manager of Health Information Management (HIM) here at Connecticut Children’s, would suggest that patient care goes beyond the hands-on approach.
HIM’s primary function is to collect patient information for Connecticut Children’s, and keep that information accurate, safe, and up to date when a patient and their family need it. McKone firmly holds that while “we are not hands-on patient care, everything we do impacts patient care.” Whether the task is scanning and indexing patient records, or confirming that releases are going to those entitled to patient information, the work of managing a patient’s health information contributes to the continuity of patient care.
The work of keeping health information safe and accurate, however, can be complicated. For instance, in this modern era, HIM must work with multiple record formats as well as with the information being stored in various locations. Previously, being timely with patient information was as simple as making a photocopy of the paper record and sending it out the door. Today, there is the time consuming process of scanning paper documents and uploading them to online databases, as well as maintaining microfiche files. To add to the process, HIM has to gather health information from Connecticut Children’s locations around the state.
Although HIM faces its challenges, new technology has helped create an overall positive impact on the patient’s care and experience. For example, this new technology allows us to offer tools like MyChart and CareEverywhere, which provide access to some parts of a patient’s medical record to families and outside providers, respectively.
McKone has full confidence in her team in HIM. Despite all the demands on their time and the varying workflow, Linda and her Assistant Manager Steven Ross proudly hold that “the staff members have stepped up and people are doing things that aren’t normally expected of them.” The staff’s “what can we do to help” attitude allows HIM to reach and successfully exceed goals; such as scanning over one million pages of patient information into our online database from January 2016 to November 2016.
Regardless of the challenge that may surface, the staff in Health Information Management has sustained outstanding patient care by keeping patients’ health information accurate and secure.