Director's Greeting

Ellen Cadwell, RHIA


Welcome to Shoreline Community College's Health Informatics and Information Management (HIIM) programs for Fall 2013. For many of you this is your first quarter in the HIIM programs. For others, you are in your last quarter of the Medical Coding and Reimbursement Specialist program or, for our Health Information Technology students you are starting the second year of the program and starting to see light at the end of the tunnel. And of course, welcome to all the HIIM website visitors who are exploring career and educational opportunities.


The 2013-2014 academic year promises to be exciting for both our students and faculty. This past year we increased our program prerequisites to include not only Elementary Algebra but also English Composition and Human Biology. We believe the addition of these courses will improve the overall success of the students admitted into the program.


Our industry has been anticipating and planning the implementation of the new ICD-10-PCS coding system for several years. The implementation date was delayed one year to October 1, 2014. Shoreline has been training our students in ICD-10 during 2012 and 2013. To meet the challenge of our students graduating in the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014, the program is providing a 2 credit hour ICD-9-CM coding course. This will prepare our graduating students to sit for their national certification exams and obtain employment in the ICD-9 world during the first part of the AHIMA 2014 testing year.


Health care facilities and payers have been using this time to refine the planning and training for ICD-10. Hospitals, clinics, imaging centers, nursing homes and anyone who submits medical billing are continuing to evaluate their systems to assess their readiness for ICD-10-PCS which includes the new billing form (5010). Many facilities are investigating using Computer Assisted Coding (CAC) to help the coders attain the required accuracy and maintain productivity. Even then, some faculties have been budgeting for significant increases in coding and documentation improvement staff. This is a great time to be in Health Information Management (HIM).


As we move forward with implementing the electronic medical record more job titles are evolving. Project Managers, Work Flow Analysts, Data Analysts and Electronic Health Record (HER) Data Integrity Analysts, Documentation Improvement Specialists will all be needed to help implement and maintain the EHR.


In addition, the Health insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) included Privacy and Security rules that significantly changed health care practices in privacy, security and confidentiality. These rules set the groundwork for implementing safeguards for the protection of patients' health care information. In the intervening years, states have added additional protections. Most recently, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) introduced additional regulations regarding privacy and security practices in health information technology.  Facilities are designing processes to implement these regulations. The job titles that have evolved from these changes are Privacy Officers and Security Officers.


The field of HIM is continually evolving and the jobs that require expertise also continue to grow. The Health Informatics and Information Management programs at Shoreline Community College provide an excellent baseline for you to enter the HIM field. As you move forward with your career you will learn that you need to be a lifelong learner and grow into the many jobs and specialties that are becoming available in Health Information Management.


Best wishes for a productive and informative school year.