The development of a refined classification for subacute and non-acute care: Australian National Subacute and Non-Acute Patient Classification Version 5.0


Subacute and non-acute care is currently classified using the Australian National Subacute and Non-Acute Patient (AN-SNAP) Classification Version 4 (V4), which has been used by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) to price admitted subacute and non-acute care since 1 July 2016 for the purpose of activity based funding (ABF). IHPA undertakes regular review of all ABF classifications to ensure they reflect changes to patient complexity and cost over time. In 2018–19, IHPA commenced a review into the subacute and non-acute classification, resulting in the development of a refined classification.

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Supporting Clinical Coders: analysis of a free text survey question exploring practice issues reported by Australian Clinical Coders


In 2018 by the then National Centre for Classification in Health (NCCH) at the University of Sydney conducted a survey regarding clinical coding practices in Australia. the survey contained questions related to Clinical Coders’(CCs) level of confidence in specific clinical coding functions, management of Clinical Documentation Improvement Specialists (CDIS) and CCs’ understanding of the level of importance for CC key performance indicators. The survey included a final open-ended question: Question 24, 'Do you have any further comments?'. The results of the survey were reported in HIM-Interchange, Volume 9, Number 1, 2019 in an article titled Supporting Clinical Coders: future proofing the integrity of our coded clinical data (Dimitropoulos 2019).  This article reports on the responses to Question 24.   S

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Celebrating Health Information Management Awareness Week in 2021


Health Information Management Awareness Week is a feature event in the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) calendar. The event provides an opportunity to promote health information, and, as demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic, its critical function as ‘the heart of the healthcare system’. In 2021, it was held during the week commencing 10 May.   While the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 made planning and hosting events quite a challenge this year, many organisations and services around Australia were able to acknowledge the week in some way. This year, HIM-Interchange is showcasing Health Information Management Awareness Week in Queensland, with a spotlight on three different happenings:

  • students at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) achieving great success in the HIMAA poster competition
  • a recently appointed Health Information Manager (HIM) embracing the opportunity to organise a dual-purpose event
  • a hospital where the celebrations were taken hospital-wide to raise awareness throughout the organisation.

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Happy anniversary – Ten years of HIM-Interchange


In 2011, the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) introduced a second journal for the members of the association in recognition of the need for a mechanism for HIM professionals to share their experiences and knowledge (Bonello 2011). Volume 1, Issue 1 of the professional practice journal, HIM-Interchange (HIM-I) started as pull out in the HIMAA peer reviewed Health Information Management Journal (HIMJ) in Volume 40, Issue 1. In celebration of the tenth anniversary of HIM-I, this article will provide a history of the journal from the humble beginnings as a pull out in HIMJ to the standalone, web-based journal it has become in 2021.

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Coding associated causes of death and psychosocial risk factors as part of the National Mortality Dataset


The National Mortality Dataset (NMD) is an epidemiological dataset that contains annual death registrations for a given reference period. The NMD includes demographic variables including age, sex and country of birth as well as cause of death information coded to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision (ICD-10). Cause of death data includes both the underlying cause of death (UCoD) and associated causes of death (ACoD). The UCoD is the disease, condition or external event that initiated the train of morbid events leading to death. The ACoDs refer to all other conditions listed on the medical certificate of cause of death by the certifier. ACoDs can include diseases that are part of the chain of events leading to death, risk factors and co-morbid chronic conditions (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2020a). Understanding what ACoDs contributed to an individual’s death can provide insight into intervention points to prevent or decrease some causes of death. For example, modifiable risk factors such as smoking or hypertension can be targeted via public health campaigns, changing laws (ie. changing smoking regulations) and treatments (ie. diuretics or ACE inhibitors to manage hypertension) (Pilibosian, Wu, Aldrich and Wheeler 1999). Mental health conditions such as depression or drug and alcohol abuse are known to have a negative impact on health and are focus areas in national suicide prevention strategies (Lee and Jung 2006). Additionally knowing what drugs were present in an overdose can lead to reviews of drug prescription and use patterns (Department of Health 2017).

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The role of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital health information management team in COVID-19 disaster management


The outbreak of COVID-19 has challenged all health services across the world. The importance of good record processes and clinical data management continues to be pivotal in supporting pressured clinical teams as they battle a demanding and rapidly changing world-wide pandemic. The experiences of the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) health information management team has demonstrated that Health Information Managers (HIMs) have an important role to play in hospital disaster management.

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Going paperless: rapid deployment of a new rostering and timesheet system


Under the Health Emergency Mission, the Department of Health and Human Services (the Department) is coordinating Victoria’s COVID -19 response through a single Departmental Incident Management Team (DIMT). Its purpose is to manage and slow the spread of coronavirus within Victoria. While the Victorian government reorganised itself around eight missions to drive the government’s public health response, this article discusses the development of a digital solution to support rostering, payroll and timesheet management for the expanding COVID-19 Surge Workforce. 

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Coping and building resilience during lockdown: a Community of Practice for placement students


Recent literature has found that appropriate coping mechanisms during the pandemic and lockdown are essential. Labrague and Ballad (2020) found establishing a support system, as well as individual problem-solving skills, were protective factors in resilience during the pandemic. As you may expect, different individuals have different coping strategies. Savitsky, Findling, Ereli and Hendel (2020) identified five coping behaviours demonstrated by nursing students: individual resilience (i.e. one’s ability to ‘bounce back’ after stress); gathering information (i.e. to increase COVID-19 knowledge and become more informed about current events); mental disengagement (i.e. engaging in excessive consumption of food and alcohol; or the use of drugs to distract themselves from current situations); seeking spiritual support (i.e. using spirituality and religious beliefs to deal with difficulties) and humour (i.e. finding the ‘funny’ in things and keeping themselves amused).

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Health information governance: A framework across a Melbourne metropolitan health service


With advancements in digital health across Victoria and Australia – including the implementation of an electronic medical record in many major tertiary health services – an appropriate governance of the collection, use and access of patient and consumer health information is more pertinent than ever. As the custodians of health information, Health Information Managers (HIMs) are entrusted with managing, interpreting and protecting the use and collection of a health service’s health information, while operating in partnership with clinicians to support the provision of effective, integrated and comprehensive clinical care. This collaborative relationship fosters a shared responsibility for health information governance and is essential for harnessing the delivery of responsive care across the ‘creation to destruction’ life cycle of health information. A well-defined health information governance framework provides a basis upon which this partnership can be built and sustained and is of particular relevance for HIMs who are working in a space that is transitioning into a digital environment.

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Rapid reporting of mortality data during the COVID-19 pandemic


The COVID-19 pandemic has driven increased demands for timely, high quality statistics that can help governments to respond to the social, health and economic impacts of the disease. Data has also been critically important for informing the public during this time of high uncertainty. During the early stages of the pandemic, Australia relied on health surveillance systems to provide critical information on numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths, with these systems continuing to play an important role in managing subsequent outbreaks. As the pandemic progressed, the need to understand the broader impacts on mortality, both direct and indirect, also became apparent. These impacts could not be measured through disease surveillance systems but could be captured through civil registration based mortality data. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) recognised both the challenge and opportunity in seeking to deliver rapid registration based mortality data, and after consultation with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee, agreed to find a way to deliver the required data.

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