Letter from the Editor

Dear HIM-Interchange readersWelcome to the first issue for 2020 and a brand new decade!In this issue, Sadiya Askar (2020) shares her journey as a health information management student at La Trobe University over the past three years. Most of us can still remember that sense of trepidation and feeling out of our depth as students on our professional practice placements. It is not always easy to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but it sounds like Sadiya embraced the challenges, including travelling overseas and taking on a leadership role in the health information management student body. Another emerging health information management professional, Alexandra Van Gemert (2020), also shares her story of starting out in her health information management career, with a role in a regional New South Wales health service.

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ICD-11 review: toward implementation planning in Australia

The International Classification of Diseases 11th Revision (ICD-11), was launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June 2018. In May 2019, the World Health Assembly adopted ICD-11 for implementation by Member States from 1 January 2022. The WHO will provide transitional arrangements for at least five years from that date, and as long as it is necessary, to support implementation.

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A comparison between Urgency Related Groups and the Australian Emergency Care Classification

Emergency departments are dedicated hospital-based facilities specifically designed and staffed to provide 24-hour emergency care. The role of the emergency department is to diagnose and treat acute and urgent illnesses and injuries (Independent Hospital Pricing Authority [IHPA] 2019a). Annually, there is an increasing demand on emergency departments in Australian public hospitals. The average emergency department presentation growth from 2013-14 to 2017-18 was 2.7% per annum, which surpasses the average growth of the population over the same period. Total emergency department presentations have increased 11% over the past 5 years, and in the 2017-18 financial year presentations exceeded 8 million (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare [AIHW] 2018a, p.4).

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The importance of clinical documentation improvement for Australian hospitals

When clinical documentation improvement (CDI) was first introduced in the United States (US), it emerged within the policy climate of the Bush administration, with a major focus on increasing the effectiveness of hospital care and reducing the cost of the healthcare system. The Deficit Reduction Act 2005 was a combination of withholding reimbursement (for hospital acquired conditions), assigning mandatory indicators (‘Present on Admission’ flags), and incentivising best practice (through ‘value-based purchasing) (Wilson, 2009). In order to achieve the requirements of the legislation, CDI programs in the US focused on improving the clinical documentation in the medical records so that resultant coded data submitted to internal and external agencies were as complete and accurate as possible, so as to manage the direct impact on reimbursement (Wilson, 2009).

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A special year for health information management awareness in 2019

Health Information Management Awareness Week turned into the Health Information Management Awareness Month in 2019 as the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) celebrated the 70 year anniversary of the profession. For the whole month of May our members were busy organising branch events and celebrations, lobby displays, Health Information Services (HIS) department tours and social functions, and making headlines in their health organisations’ newsletters.

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Managing health information in Cambodia: exchanging skills in a challenging environment

On a dull and cold Friday afternoon in August 2010 at the end of a busy but uneventful week, my colleague Jane and I were lamenting our feeling of doing a good job but not really feeling as though we’d ‘made a difference’.So, as we did on so many other Friday afternoons, we jumped onto the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) website to check the job vacancies. Jane jokingly said, ‘Oh here’s a good one for you Jules, they’re looking for a Health Information Manager in Cambodia’. I laughed it off but was immediately intrigued and couldn’t wait to get home to check it out. By the time my husband arrived home, I was convinced that I really wanted, but more needed, to do this job.

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Year of a new graduate in the bush

Traditionally, the first choice for most new graduates has been to obtain jobs in metropolitan hospitals.I can honestly say that my decision to go against convention and move over 1,000 kilometres away from home to rural New South Wales (NSW) to work as a regional Health Information Manager, has been an enriching and worthwhile experience. My position manages the Clinical Information Services across two activity-based funding sites, and four block funded health services, covering a population of roughly 80,000 residents. I thought I would share some of my experiences and challenges.

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Maybe I’ll write to you from there: the journey of an undergraduate health information management student

For the past three years, I have been studying health information management at La Trobe University in Bundoora, Victoria. In December 2019, I graduated with a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Medical Classification)/ Bachelor of Health Information Management. This double degree course is a four-year undergraduate program which I joined after completing my Associate Degree in Health Sciences at RMIT University. Over those three years, along with many late nights, numerous assignments, and several stressful exams, I have had the opportunity to complete three professional placements, study abroad, be elected President of the Health Information Management Student Association (HIMSA) and last, but not least, made numerous lifelong friends and professional networks.

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Life behind the pages of HIM-Interchange

The HIM-Interchange Subcommittee was formed in 2015, with the primary responsibility at that time being the co-opting of articles to fill the pages of HIM-Interchange. Today the role of co-opting articles remains a key responsibility of the members, however the scope has been extended to include the mentoring of authors and the end-to-end functions associated with the publication of the journal.

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Report on the 19th World Congress of the International Federation of Health Information Management Associations

The 19th International Federation of Health Information Management Associations (IFHIMA) Congress was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from Sunday 17 to Thursday 21 November 2019, with the major theme being ‘empowering health information management professionals through a global voice’. The congress was hosted by the Saudi Health Information Management Association with many representative attendees from countries in the region as well as representatives from Australia, United States of America (USA), Canada, England, Korea, and Indonesia to name a few.

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