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A health information administrator has four primary areas of responsibility: creating data entry procedures, managing data integrity, system security, and data analysis. A health information administrator or health information manager is trained to maintain patients' medical records. Health information administrators are employed in hospitals, health care facilities, and insurance companies. In a standard health information or health records department, the health information administrator has several health information technicians who are responsible for data entry and performing routine analysis.
The information maintained by a health information administrator is used to analyze costs and make decisions on health trends, staffing, and equipment purchasing. The information must be accurate, reliable, and secure, due to patient confidentiality. There is a wide range of health information systems available in the marketplace. It is not uncommon for the health information administrator to work closely with the systems support staff to create new reports and improve functionality to meet unique needs.
Data entry procedures are the rules and steps followed by health information technicians when entering information into the health information system. These procedures are used to reduce the risk of data entry error, ensure consistent use of specific codes to match the actual information, and provide the basis for all future reports. The creation and maintenance of these rules determines the overall data quality and has a direct impact on the usability of the information.
Data integrity is an important function that is managed with a combination of business process and system rules. The business process rules define what information is recorded and how. The source documentation for data entry must be defined and used consistently by all health information technicians. Computer systems can be programmed to ensure that all data entry meets certain rules regarding the number of characters, numerical groupings, or checks for duplicate data entry. The combination of these functions will provide a degree of control over the quality of data entered in the system.
Health records contain personal information on the patient, such as age, sex, exact procedures completed, tests ordered, doctor’s name and specialty, and prescription medication. All this information is highly confidential. The level of security surrounding the health information system is critical. While the physical security is usually the responsibility of the information technology staff, the administrator is responsible for controlling both the people who have access and exactly what functions they can perform. Many health information systems have audit trails to track the name of the staff member who accessed each patient’s file and when.
The last responsibility of the health information administrator is the analysis of system reports. They are responsible for providing accurate and comprehensive reports to senior management on costs, activity, patient demographics, and other information as needed. This is a critical function for effective decision making in both the hospital and insurance company setting.
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