The American Health Information Management Association has released a free toolkit to guide providers in the development of consumer engagement programs that are part of a larger shift toward value-based payment.
According to the AHIMA, its member health information management professionals could and should play key roles in developing and carrying out their employers' consumer engagement strategies.
“Traditionally, the clinical care team played the major role in the patient experience,” Lynn Thomas Gordon, AHIMA CEO, said in a news release about the toolkit.
“But the change in the way patients consume their health information means today's HIM professional plays an important role in giving healthcare consumers the tools needed to make all interactions and communications with their providers meaningful and efficient," Thomas Gordon said.
According to the guide, HIM professionals will be doing more in assisting consumer engagement than their routine tasks, such as handling release-of-information requests. Instead, they will be involved in an ongoing dialogue between providers and patients.
The toolkit describes the HIM professional as evolving into a "patient healthcare navigator or advocate" who will ensure patients receive and use copies of their health records, a privacy specialist who accesses records to maintain compliance with regulatory guidelines, and a leadership role in training employees on the importance of consumer engagement and new technologies and initiatives.
“Healthcare providers must foster trust and form solid relationships through open, honest interactions with their patients over time,” according to the AHIMA document. “These interactions encourage ongoing discussion and improve the patient experience, ultimately improving patient outcomes."
HIM professionals can impact the customer experience by answering questions, assisting in solving any problems, listening to customer concerns, and supporting patients by providing them with access to information when and where it is needed and in the preferred medium, whenever possible, according to the guide.