The world of healthcare is rapidly changing and the need for individuals in the health information management and technology (HIMT) fields continues to grow. The evolution of electronic health records (EHR), health information exchanges, changes in national health insurance, and advances in medical technology are changing the way we collect and organize health information.
While the core skills of many jobs in the industry will remain the same, HIM professionals will also need information technology skills to keep pace with the change.
Frank Waterstraat, former program manager (2012-2015) of the 100% online University of Wisconsin online Health information Management and Technology program, says these changes have put a new demand on the skill sets needed by workers in the industry.
“Ironically, with the implementation of health information technology and the health information management profession, many of the job functions have remained pretty much intact,” Waterstraat said.
Waterstraat notes that areas such as coding for reimbursement, information release, ensuring patient security and using data to measure healthcare quality and reduce costs, are all still core functions of the discipline. The shift in skill sets has given way to expanded dimensions of the industry and the professions associated with HIMT.
“As much as the profession has changed, there’s a component of it that has remained the same, and yet there’s a whole series of new areas that provide new dimensions and opportunities in the profession,” Waterstraat said.
The UW Health Information Management and Technology program was uniquely designed to address the healthcare industry’s emerging needs in these areas, teaching skills that include systems analysis and design, project management, system development and integration, as well as a continued focused on ensuring privacy and security in electronic information systems.
“The UW Health Information Management and Technology program offers a program that integrates these two disciplines into a single degree,” Waterstraat said.
Faculty and instructors involved in the program are experts in the areas of healthcare, management, information systems, project management, system analysis design, economics, epidemiology, and more. They have been recruited from across the UW System campuses to teach the online curriculum.
To learn more about the UW HIMT program, watch Frank Waterstraat’s full interview here.