Member Spotlight: Temidayo (Temi) Olawole

Member Spotlight: Temidayo (Temi) Olawole

From banking to health information:
Temidayo Olawole’s journey into health information

Temidayo Olawole, CHIM, was in the banking sector for fifteen years before immigrating to Canada. Upon his arrival, he sought a different challenge and explored coursework opportunities in regulated professions and certifications to enable a pivot to another field. Once Temidayo discovered health information, he was immediately drawn in by familiar words like privacy, legislation, compliance, and data management.

With a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in business administration and management, Temidayo enrolled in the Health Information Management diploma program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. He studied new subject matter, like anatomy, and reviewed familiar ones, like privacy and compliance. Temidayo began the program at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when stringent movement restrictions informed new ways of working and learning. His program, which began in a hybrid format, was soon converted to a fully online program.

The virtual environment enabled him to both work and study full-time. He started with an IT service management firm, with his role involving the resolution of automated teller machine (ATM) issues across southern Saskatchewan. During breaks, Temidayo did his homework in his work van and ultimately completed the program in just two years.

Temidayo has learned a great deal from his experience in health information, noting that the knowledge and skills he gained in banking were highly transferable to health information management. These skills proved useful on projects involving data reconciliation for the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

Temidayo is currently a manager of health information management and registration services at the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). He works within the privacy and health information department, managing health information and registration services in 11 health facilities across southern Saskatchewan. He oversees health information in mental health and acute care and is a system administrator for the admission, discharge, transfer (ADT) system and the coding database. His role also includes submitting data to CIHI, creating institution files, overseeing patient registration, and managing the programs on the ADT system.

One of the projects Temidayo is most proud of at the SHA is automating the registration of mental health inpatient care. Prior to this automation, registration was still being done manually on paper. Temidayo feels that change management and communication must partner together in process improvement to aid with a common resistance to change. He also highlights the importance of pivoting when complications and unexpected events occur.

Temidayo identified an important aspect of work not emphasized during his program: registration services. “The gateway to any encounter with the health system is registration, just like customer service in banking,” he said. He recognizes that these professionals use their ADT system more often than others. To help support registration services professionals, he endeavours to understand how roles intersect with other functions within the health care team.

Temidayo’s work also spans privacy, information release, and electronic health records (EHR) management. When issues are unclear, specifically in mental health services, he refers to the Mental Health Services Act for confirmation.

He believes the best way to improve a patient’s experience is through continuous process improvement and a high delivery of care regardless of budget cuts. He urges health information professionals to be forward-looking as their organizations evolve and encourage employee personal growth through regular professional development.

In discussing collaboration and teamwork, Temidayo believes that care for the patient, who is often going through a personal crisis, should drive teams to be interdependent to ensure delivery of the best care outcome. He is not afraid to cross-train to offer the best support to others. By “leading from the front,” Temidayo says he’s in a better position to understand team members’ efforts. He credits his team at the SHA for being supportive, acknowledging that every team member’s idea is valued.

Temidayo has big plans for the future, with a degree in health administration in his sights. He fondly recalls being offered a managerial role at the SHA based on his previous supervisory experience and reminds internationally trained professionals, “Your experience back home is not a waste.”

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At the CHIMA and the Canadian College of Health Information Management Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on June 22, 2023, we had an opportunity to engage with our members and the public in a town hall session. The following includes the questions answered during the session and the ones time did not permit us to answer.