Letter from the Editor

Welcome to Issue 1 of 2022. There are some great articles in this issue that reinforce health information management as being at the forefront of some of the most important areas being discussed in Australia today. HIM-Interchange Volume 10, Number 1 contained several articles on the role of health information management in the aged care sector, which has been prominent in the media following the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

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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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Updating the Queensland Health standard and guideline for Managing the clinical records of children available for adoption

In July 2021, eHealth Queensland conducted a project to update the Queensland Health Standard and Guideline for managing the clinical records of children available for adoption. In partnership with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), an updated draft of the standard and guideline were constructed by a Bachelor of Health Information Management student.

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Applying extended retention periods to vulnerable person medical records: a student project at Mater Health Services

Designed to meet the requirements of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, on 27 March 2020 the State Archivist released a guideline on creating and retaining records for the proactive protection of Vulnerable Persons (Queensland Government 2021). The guideline outlined the obligation for all public authorities to apply an extended retention period for any record with documentation related to an abuse allegation, incident, or investigation. Highlighting the need to understand how and when survivors of abuse disclose pertinent information to health services, it also presents challenges to facilities that operate across multiple medical record platforms including paper, hybrid and digital. To fully understand the requirements for this project, a health information management undergraduate was assigned to Mater Health Services in Queensland for four months to analyse the guideline needs, determine how guideline compliance could be achieved and feedback the associated recommendations for remedial action.

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In the process we trust: the tale of a fledging Health Information Manager on placement

It was the autumn of 2020 when the first seeds of placement excitement were planted. This was gently nurtured and cultivated until it was all consuming. As a student on placement, you get caught up in the hype that you, yourself, have been building for six months prior to placement commencing. You get caught up in the need to deliver the project that you have devised successfully and to deliver it on time. You try to prepare for all eventualities: an ongoing pandemic, staff sick days, missing documentation, and acts of God to name just a few. Despite all this pre-emptive planning, there is one thing you don’t think of – you don’t pre-empt the possibility that your project will be deemed not viable.

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Farewell Jennie Shepheard

The first iteration of the HIM-Interchange (HIM-I) Sub-committee could not have been possible without the leadership and contributions of Jennie Shepheard. Over the years, Jennie has been a prominent member of the sub-committee and has provided invaluable guidance, advice and knowledge to the sub-committee and its members. We are sad to report that Jennie has resigned from the sub-committee. Before we let her go, we wanted Jennie to take us through the journey of her impressive career and leave us with some last words of advice.

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Clinical Coder Working Group: developing performance standards for Clinical Coders

In 1996, the Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) released its Clinical Coder National Competency Standards and Assessment Guide (HIMAA 1996). Since then, this guide has been used by Clinical Coding Managers and Clinical Coding Educators to guide them in managing clinical coding teams. While some hospitals have since created their own competency or performance standards for internal use, the HIMAA guide has not been updated. In March 2018, HIMAA released, for consultation, a set of Clinical Coder Competency Standards that had been developed by its Clinical Coder Competency Standards Working Group. During the period from May 2018 to September 2018, 19 submissions were received. Feedback revealed the proposed Clinical Coder Competency Standards were heavily skewed towards HIMAA’s Health Information Manager (HIM) Profession-entry Competency Standards (HIMAA 2017). These underpin the curricula of university degree courses in health information management and form a component of HIMAA’s educational standards for its external course accreditation of HIM-qualifying degrees. Completion of an accredited course is, in turn, pre-requisite for a graduate HIMs’ eligibility for full membership of HIMAA. In short, there are inherent problems in linking the Clinical Coder Competency Standards to the HIM Profession-entry Competency Standards.

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