By: Enobong Oladipo, CHIM & Vanessa Le, CHIM
It is popularly said that some blessings come in disguise. This was the case with the perfect opportunity that was presented as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in our ability to showcase the importance of health information management. Due to the pandemic, some of the 2020 graduating HIM students from Red River College were drafted to apply the skills learned in college to collate, document, enter, and interpret the COVID-19 laboratory data, as well as client demographic and clinical information into the public health information management system. Epidemiologists analyzed this data and it is helping to inform public health decisions for Manitobans.
This experience provided an opportunity to showcase some of the skills and expertise that we possess as HIM professionals. It also demonstrated the importance of working alongside other health professionals to deliver health services to the population while maintaining the integrity, confidentiality, accuracy, and privacy of health information. Given the abruptness of the situation, the COVID-19 surveillance team was grateful to have us support them and leveraged our high level of competency with information documentation and management. While the team took the time to keep us abreast with the privacy and confidentiality requirements of the task we were assigned, the education provided at Red River College was sufficient, to say the least, in helping us maintain the privacy and confidentiality associated with the tasks.
Working with the team to flatten the curve of the pandemic reiterated the essence and importance of the health information profession to the health industry and solidified the education that we received while in college. Health information management is not just another management program; it’s the thread that joins the bits and pieces of a person’s entire health history. To this end, it is a great opportunity and honour to be in a profession that not only visibly maintains health information, but also protects it and advocates for the individual.