HIMSS Organization: Global Reach & Mission

Instructor: Maya Shapland

Maya has worked in the clinical, education, and management sections of healthcare for over 25 years and holds bachelor's degree in Speech and associate degree in Nursing.

Healthcare technology is taking patient care to a whole new level. This lesson explains a valuable resource for health information professionals called the Heath Information and Management Systems Society, which has the mission to improve patient care using technology.

Health Information Technology

Enrique is a nurse working on a brand new project for his patients with heart failure. He is working to connect the computers in his patient's home with the physician's office to monitor the patient's weight and blood pressures. His patient can now communicate with the office directly through the computer to make appointments, ask for medication refills, and get directions should the patient have worrisome symptoms.

The world of healthcare has been in metamorphosis for the last few years as it is bringing the knowledge of clinical healthcare and the technology of information systems or computer systems to the forefront of patient care. This new merger is called health information technology (HIT). Healthcare organizations are moving rapidly to electronic health records (EHR) that serves as the record for the care of the patient. Interoperability is the capability to share patient data between providers, payors, and governmental entities, such as public health agencies.

Interoperability: information sharing to coordinate patient care

Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society

Enrique has found one of the largest resources for his position is the website of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), which is a global not-for-profit membership organization with the mission of activating participation in the advancement of healthcare technology to achieve positive patient outcomes. The vision of HIMSS is the improvement of health using information technology in the care of patients. HIMSS serves a global membership of HIT professionals with influence in the U.S., Asia, and Europe. It is governed by an elected board of directors. Enrique is sharing this information with clinical staff who are working through the transition from paper patient records to electronic health records.

HIMSS Options for Members

Patients with heart failure, for instance, can better manage their care through the personal health record that Enrique is bringing to the patient's home. In order to do that, there are things to consider such as:

  • How can we make the application easy to operate?
  • How do we keep the health record safe and secure?
  • How do we deliver the information the physician needs?

The HIMSS resource library can help those who are facing these questions and integrating this technology into their organizations. The launching pad is the organization's website that offers multiple opportunities for learning in HIT through webinars, blogs, and special topics groups. Here is a sampling of possibilities available to HIT professionals:

  • Education through the HIMSS Learning Center and other professional development programs
  • Membership news, blogs, publications, and regional meetings
  • Two HIT certifications based on professional experience levels in the field
  • Tookits for topics impacting HIT
  • Policy issues in the field
  • Information on security of health records

HIMSS Trailblazing for HIT Professionals

The HIMSS is involved in many areas of concern for those working in the field, and the patients they serve, through sponsoring initiatives to advance the use of technology in healthcare. Some of these focus areas include the following:

  • Patient safety and quality of care
  • Personal patient records
  • Electronic medical records
  • Health information policies
  • Patient health record access and sharing through interoperability

Let's take a closer look at a few specific HIMSS initiatives and partnerships.

HIMSS Initiatives

The EHR Collaborative is a joint venture to help those working in HIT, healthcare organizations and other professional organizations to inform the membership about issues in the industry. HIMSS and sister organizations, such as the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), work together to get needed information to others working in the field.

HIMSS is also leading the charge for nurses who are working in the healthcare informatics field. The Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI) is one of the ways the organization can support the advancing technology in clinical nursing. Many nurses who are informatics specialists are gaining support, education, networking, and improvement in the ability to provide health policies surrounding HIT.

Another great opportunity is the partnership with the Center for Information Technology Leadership (CITL), which is helping healthcare leaders invest in the technology best suited for their organizations and supporting IT vendors in developing what healthcare providers need. Enrique is now able to provide input on the new patient health record to be used at home with information from this HIMSS partnership.

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