Member Spotlight: Devendrakumar Kanani
Devendrakumar Kanani, MS, CHIM, began his journey into health information after he landed in Canada to reunite with his brother in 2012. He had completed a master’s degree in pharmacy from the Stevens Institute of Technology in the US but could not secure a job due to his inability to get an H1 visa sponsorship.
Devendra desired to remain in health care, and after he discovered the health information profession, he enrolled in the Health Information Management Diploma program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. He was soon surprised at “the scope of the practice… what they can do and what they can achieve.” He then decided to move on from pharmacy to focus on learning how to provide quality data so that health care providers can have a “better understanding of the [patient’s] condition and provide accurate treatment.”
Early in his education in HIM, he discovered his affinity for medical coding. Devendra credits the Saskatchewan Polytechnic program for his exposure to real-world experiences, where he also worked as a health record clerk and research assistant. He says his studies and experience boosted his confidence and prepared him for the workplace, enabling him to begin coding acute care charts without training from his first day at Battlefords Union Hospital. Devendra became the hospital’s main coder and was involved in release of information and other related tasks. He also learned how to write crystal reports through self-study, which led to his involvement in data quality initiatives at the hospital.
Wanting to be nearer to family, Devendra moved to Ontario, where he joined Hamilton Health Science (HHS) in Ontario. At HHS, he got more involved in various coding tasks and continued to hone his coding skills. However, he soon began to look for avenues to explore other aspects of health information and, specifically, data quality.
Devendra found this opportunity at 3M as a clinical documentation coding specialist, where he focused on Codefinder and Health Data Management (HDM) data quality initiatives. Again, Devendra dedicated himself to learning abstracting and Codefinder software as well as the company’s software products by observation and self-study so that he didn’t need any extra training. He keeps up to date with coding trends by reading up on recent coding standards and resources like CIHI’s eQuery, making him an asset to other coders. He has also moved into clinical documentation improvement (CDI), where he has been involved in CDI studies to highlight deficiencies and proffer solutions.
Devendra enjoys identifying solutions to coding problems and helping to prevent coders from struggling. Having worked in and out of hospital environments, Devendra appreciates the broad knowledge he has gained from both worlds and the experience of working with varied volumes and specialized cases (like cancer treatment). He says these experiences have imbued him with knowledge in areas he would have been unaware of. This Devendra appreciates about health information—the ability to expand one’s experiences and update one’s learning.
Although Devendra does not wish to return to pharmacy, having a background in the field gives him a better understanding of clinical terms and diseases, enabling him to code medical cases more effectively. Knowledge is vital to Devendra: It drove him to learn crystal report writing, inspires his ambition to improve data quality, and influences his present and future endeavours in health information.
Devendra encourages professionals thinking of or starting a second career in health information to be open to the possibilities available in the field. He recalls being told that he may lose certain privileges and his coding skills if he worked outside coding and the hospital environment: “If you want to retain everything, you can…” he says. “There [are] so many other places you can go.”