Member spotlight: Anna Shule

Member spotlight: Anna Shule

“There is so much more to health care than the traditional roles. When most people think of health care, they think of nurses and doctors, but there are other roles, like health information management.”
–Anna Shule

Health Information Management (HIM) is a crucial field in the health care industry, but is often overlooked and misunderstood. Many think that HIM professionals assemble and disassemble charts or code information for billing purposes. While coding and abstracting are essential aspects of the health information management professionals’ work, their role encompasses much more.

Anna Shule’s career in health care began as a housekeeper at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. This position allowed Anna to observe roles outside of the typical doctor and nurse careers.

Anna transitioning from her role of housekeeper to a position of File Clerk in the Health Records department. Anna quickly advanced and returned to school to complete her Health Information Management education. Her commitment to learning continues to this day as she completes a Bachelor of Health Administration degree at the Toronto Metropolitan University.

We spoke with Anna Shule, Manager of Health Information Services for the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Kelly Wilson: Anna, tell us a little about yourself, professionally and personally.

Anna Shule: Professionally, I am the Health Information Manager for the Royal University Hospital and Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. I have worked for the Saskatchewan Health Authority since 2004. Personally, I love the country, I love being outdoors, and I love animals. I have hiked to the base camp at Mount Everest and the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kelly Wilson: Wow! Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest? That is a fantastic accomplishment. I would love to revisit your thoughts on those experiences at the end of the interview. In the meantime, you mentioned that you have worked for Saskatchewan Health since 2004. Looking back on your career, what has been the most rewarding aspect, and what challenges have you faced?

Anna Shule: I find it inspiring to watch other people succeed in their HIM careers, and it’s rewarding to think I may have had a hand in their success. The key for me as a leader is staying curious and open to learning. I always say there is a lot I know but also a lot I don’t know. For me, it’s important to be a strong leader so that I can help support and inspire others on their leadership journey. As for challenges, having enough time to do it all is my biggest challenge!

Kelly Wilson: What are the next steps you envision for yourself in this evolving field?

Anna Shule: Information is key. With most health information changing from paper-based to electronic, it is essential that health information professionals are included in transfer discussions. Being involved on a provincial level and helping standardize processes to ensure the seamless flow of information is where I would like to take my career next. HIMs have a unique perspective on information flow and transfer.

I always look for opportunities to increase exposure and engagement for health information professionals, as we’re often overlooked. So, whenever it’s appropriate to inject myself into a meeting, I will take the opportunity to highlight what we (HIMs) do. We are more than just the keepers of the health record. The data we abstract from patient charts can be (the reason) why hospitals and hospital units receive funding.

Kelly Wilson: In your current role, you mentor HIM students. What key piece of advice do you share with students based on your own experiences?

Anna Shule: I always tell them that they have chosen a great profession. This field is ever-changing and growing, and many opportunities are available. Being HIM certified and belonging to your local CHIMA chapter is a great platform to have your voice heard. It is important to share experiences, network with other HIM professionals and learn what other provinces are doing.

Kelly Wilson: Tell us about your experiences on Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest.

Anna Shule: I love challenging myself. Every seven years, I try to do a big hike or climb. It gives me time to reset—reset my mind, reset my thinking, and bring myself back to earth and be grounded. These climbs are challenging, especially since I am afraid of heights (laughs). I think these climbs are my way of showing people that you can do anything with determination and perseverance. I want to be that person that builds people up. If I can do it—a person who was told they would never amount to anything—then you can do it, too. Show up and do your best!

Anna’s professional and personal journey exemplifies how dedication, continuous learning, and a willingness to embrace new experiences can lead to a fulfilling and impactful career.

Biography

Anna Shule, Manager of Health Information Management at the Saskatchewan Health Authority, was a part of the scanning initiative within the health records department, where she was instrumental in transitioning the department from a traditional paper-based system to an electronic health information framework, revolutionizing how patient data is managed and accessed.

Beyond her technical accomplishments, Anna is recognized for her inspiring leadership and mentorship. Her active participation in various leadership roles has enhanced her professional expertise and allowed her to mentor and encourage others in the field.

A Certified Health Information Management (CHIM) professional, Anna Shule stands out as an advocate for the Health Information Management profession, tirelessly working to elevate its recognition.

Anna is focused on completing a Bachelor of Health Administration (BHA) degree at Toronto Metropolitan University, a pursuit that reflects her dedication to continuous learning and her aspiration for advanced leadership roles in the future.

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