• HS - Succeeding in HIM

    By Karalea Fisher, MSIT, RHIT
    School of Health Sciences

    “True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Leo Tolstoy

    When embarking on a new path in life, it is easy to be apprehensive and excited at the same time. But moving ahead on that new path and putting one foot in front of the other is what everyone does at one period in their life. But to start on that path with the attitude of openness is the compass that will give you satisfaction and contentment that you are striving for. 

    If you are looking for a list of the top five things you need to have to be successful in this field or the top ten qualities that make a successful health information manager, then you will be disappointed. There is truly only one element that a person needs to be successful: be open to change.

    Change and Health Information Management

    Throughout my 20 years of working in the ever-changing field of health information management, I have found that the most powerful element of oneself is that of accepting change. Change is the catalyst that runs the engine of health information management. Whether it is through the implementation and management of a new electronic health record (EHR) system or information gathering and data analysis for quality control purposes, change is part of the equation.  

    When I worked in a health care facility in Alaska, change was “on the menu” for our large department. We were working on a hybrid record system and were in the process of upgrading our current electronic portion of the record; with this update from the vendor, that meant there would be changes to how certain processes would look and the tasks that it would take to complete them. As one would expect, there were grumblings, complaints, loud echoes of sighing during the training sessions, and even some arguments between the employees and trainers. Now, one would think that those who work in a constantly evolving field like health information management would be more apt to adjust and be open to change. Not so. The loudest voices against the changes were some of the members of the health information management department! 

    Unfortunately, the consequences of the personal decisions to fight change included a slower implementation process, disruption in team cohesiveness, and an overall cloud of gloom that seemed to settle over certain areas of the department for months after the upgrade finally went into effect. Change is a fact of life and those who resist it will feel the consequences of dissatisfaction in their jobs, lost camaraderie at work with their teammates, and a high probability of being replaced with someone who is eager to learn and grow with the facility. This is the reality of what can and does happen in our field if you refuse to embrace change. So look on change as your friend, not your enemy!

    How Can You Learn to Embrace Change?

    What do you need to do to obtain this gem so that you can be a successful health information management professional? The answer is easier than you think: start small and dream big!

    Where in your personal life have you been fighting the gift of change? What is your attitude toward this change? If you can be open with yourself on a personal level and identify your shortcomings in embracing change personally, you are well on your way to seeing change as a hill to climb and not a mountain that you have to scale. Once you find yourself choosing an attitude of openness and receptiveness toward that small area of change, you will automatically be given a bigger area of your life for change. (Sorry, folks—that is just how life works, right?) Eventually your positive and open attitude will automatically transfer to your work mentality and to your outlook on your future career of health information management. As you continue to build your confidence and rack up success, you will be more than ready to handle any element of change that our field can offer you.

    That is the essence of success. An open, tested mind and attitude that sees change as a part of real life; that transfers itself into our daily work environment to help us blossom—not only as a success member of a health information management team—but also as a well-rounded, wonderful human being.


    *Excerpted from Great-Quotes, Leo Tolstoy (unknown), retrieved from [http://www.great-quotes.com/quote/600997]

    Karalea Fisher is a professor of health sciences at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University.

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