A health information specialist is a highly specific role which describes the job of someone who records medical data and then analyzes it to make sure that it is full and complete, this is most often done for insurance reimbursement and to make sure that patients care is recorded in the case that further care is needed in the future. The role will often have the participant filling in blank medical data by communicating with the hospitals and sometimes even patients in order to complete this data. They will analyze trends in said medical data for publication and to assist in a greater understanding of growing and halting medical trends such as rate of pregnancies and mortality rates
How to become a health information specialist
Becoming a health information specialist isn’t easy either often requiring a degree in pharmacy or some sort life science/healthcare degree. You would also need experience both in medical information specifically as well as medical writing. Provided all these parameters are met, there are quite a few health information specialist roles out there, with private healthcare often offering the highest rates of pay on average £60,000 a year whereas public healthcare has been know to pay anywhere between £21,000 and £50,000 a year depending on experience. Private healthcare, of course, being the largest employer base for the role however public healthcare will often provide career training to move further up the medical analysis ladder that private healthcare would be willing to provide
In the day to day, a health information specialist will often be required to take a look at many patients records, they will often be massively different than previous days and catalogue them, they will also be both digital and analogue (physical data) and using this data they will graph the days/weeks events, taking care to look over them with a critical eye, looking for trends in said data. If a trend is found they will have to catalogue it in the system and wait for further verification by looking back in the system at past patients data to see if it matches up if not they will have to wait for more data to come in before confirming a trend in the data. If there is no trend they will still have to catalogue it in order to make sure that data is there for current and future trends that might happen. There is also the case that a lot of data can go missing between a patients care and a health information specialist receiving the data, every medication needs to be accounted for as well as every time the patient received any physical care, without the data it’s near impossible to find trends. This is also important to avoid medical malpractice as having someone who keeps a human eye over all this data would quite easily point out any indescrepencies in the data such as too high of a dosage being prescribed or an inflated death rate in one area over previous years, as you can imagine this data is extremely important keeping track of this data could have life or death consequences, for example, if there is a one year where the common flu kills twice as many people over a previous year while the hospital individually might report that influx if the flu is twice as effective at taking lives all over the country that information needs to be consolidated so that a task force can be put in place. However, that data also becomes extremely sensitive at that time meaning a health information specialist will have to have a clean background as well as good moral standing as handling hundreds of patients data day in and day out can lead to complications if that data was to be sold elsewhere. This does not stop data being filled as blank, ER rooms are very complicated places and a patients care might not be properly recorded for the sake of their lives.
Main jobs of a health information specialist
This is the main crux of the job in that they will spend a lot of their time hunting down this data in order to have a complete form, as previously said the best chance of getting this data would be them calling the hospitals or centres where care was received but if the data has gone missing or was inadequately filled they would have to contact the patient themselves in order to locate this data however this is unreliable as a first-person account of someone receiving care in a hospital isn’t the best way of getting reliable data, so having the patient and the hospital have a consensus on what care was received will always be the best solution.
If neither the patient nor the hospital is able to give a decent account then it will be up to the health information specialist to mark that down as a trend as increasing amounts of data loss would be a huge problem for the medical providers and thus would need to be spotted very quickly into the trend, this is why large amounts of health care specialists are being recruited due to the ever-increasing demands for healthcare the better data that is acquired about the medical field the better the chances are of spotting trends to provide even better healthcare with increased supply to in-demand drugs as well as social solutions to medical problems such as producing literature during flu season about how to avoid catching it, as well as how much of the data in unable to be completely processed. those are all products of healthcare data without that data it’s highly likely we would know very little about the rates that people get sick/injured outside of extremely contagious illnesses.
Another role for health care specialist is to gather information for patients as well, if a patient requests to see some of the papers that relate to their medical procedures then it would be the job of a health care specialist to pass those on within government specified time frames due to information acts enabling patients the right to do request that information.