Welcome to the third issue of 2018. I have been reading with interest the articles and commentary following the commencement of the ‘opt out’ period for the My Health Record. Much of the commentary, in the major media outlets at least, has been very quiet on the benefits of the My Health Record, of which there are many. The Consumer Health Forum (2018) is one of a number of organisations and peak bodies that are trying to bring attention to the potential benefits, urging consumers to recognise the substantial value electronic medical record systems can bring to the Australian healthcare system. Our professional association, the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) is another. HIMAA has released a joint statement along with the Health Informatics Society of Australia and the Australian College of Health Informatics (2018), endorsing the Australian and state and territory governments’ decision to implement an ‘opt out’ approach to the My Health Record.
Casemix systems provide the tools to meaningfully classify, analyse, compare and price services based on an understanding of the factors that drive complexity and cost in the delivery of the services. While these systems are well established in the acute, subacute and non-acute health care sectors, the community-based care sector has not historically had the same imperatives to implement, or the information systems to support, a casemix-based approach to management.
This is the second of three articles about clinical coding education in Australia, with some input also from New Zealand (NZ). The material was collected from Clinical Coders (CCs) through a questionnaire that was distributed through CC networks in Australia. Details of the questionnaire were provided in the first article in the series that was published in the previous issue of HIM-Interchange (Volume 8 No.2). The headings in the articles relate to the questions asked in the questionnaire. The following three tables have beenrepeated in this article to provide some context for the following discussion.
Everyone knowing everyone’ is exactly why privacy is a significant issue in a rural and remote community. It is very difficult at times to control breaches of privacy and confidentiality when a patient’s condition can be unintentionally betrayed through casual conversations by healthcare professionals in areas such as the local store or sports ground, which may result in ‘privileged’ conversations being overheard (Leung et al 2015). There is a concern that people, particularly from rural and remote areas, may not be confident that their health information is protected and will either avoid clinicians or provide incomplete or incorrect health information (Christofero 2005). The protection of the privacy of all patients needs to be given a high priority to ensure continued trust in our health services, particularly for our most vulnerable populations.
The field of health informatics has generally been seen as developing separately from the spatial sciences. Geography, cartography, surveying and a variety of applied disciplines make enormous use of spatial technologies, concepts and methods in their work.These technologies are increasingly pervasive and central to our emerging ‘big data’ environment in which locational data quality and accuracy are central. Health informatics is also a field now going beyond the traditional hospital environment, especially as factors such as population ageing and rising chronic disease require outreach programs of various kinds and growing sophistication. In this scenario, we suggest that health information technology (HIT) and the spatial sciences are converging at a rapid rate such that health informatics will become increasingly spatial in character and function.
Lately I’ve been immersed in some great articles and conversations about achieving quality healthcare as I spot good material to use in my new ‘No Harm Done’ podcast (Balding and Jones 2018). These discussions leave me simultaneously enthusiastic and de-energised; a weird state, but one that quality professionals will recognise. Although the ideas discussed are often inspirational, the problems we’re trying to solve are the same ones we’ve been grappling with, in my case, for around 30 years. This may mean that I’m just a hopeless problem solver! However, there’s a bigger picture issue here.
The health information management profession in Australia is very fortunate to have two journals produced by our professional association, the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA): a professional practice journal – HIMInterchange (HIM-I) and a peer reviewed research journal – Health Information Management Journal (HIMJ). HIMJ has had increased success since its publication has been managed by SAGE publications. Publication by SAGE enabled HIMJ to have a wider international reach and this has been reflected in higher quality papers being submitted for publication and a significantly increased impact factor.