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21 Tips to Help Advance Female HIM Leadership

Posted on November 8, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I had the opportunity to attend several sessions at the AHIMA conference on leadership. These sessions focused on the role of female leaders in the HIM industry, and, more importantly, the need to bolster this demographic up from its currently low numbers.

In her session, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Are You Up for the Challenge?” Merida Johns, Principal/Owner at The Monarch Center for Women’s Leadership Development, threw out some interesting statistics:

  • 50% of today’s workforce is female
  • 73% of hospital managers are female
  • 18% of hospital CEOs are female
  • 4% of healthcare vendor CEOs are female
  • 25% of senior healthcare IT positions are held by women
  • 79% of female executives think more female executives are needed in the workforce; but only 42% of men feel the same way
  • 92% of AHIMA members are female; yet only 6% hold an executive position

Johns suggested that in order to raise the bar (or break the glass ceiling) to propel more women into HIM leadership positions, we need to:

Develop Career Clarity

  • identify strengths,
  • develop a personal vision,
  • know your purpose and
  • know what you want

Raise Career Ambitions

  • develop big goals,
  • categorize the goals,
  • break the goals into doable chunks,
  • be specific about when you’ll achieve goals, and
  • develop a vision board

Raise Confidence

  • start success and gratitude journals,
  • sideline the inner critic, and
  • be in the right place at the right time

Promote Yourself

  • accept compliments,
  • use social media effectively,
  • display awards,
  • hone your elevator speech and use it, and
  • develop your brand

Amass Social Capital

  • get a mentor and a sponsor;
  • volunteer, connect and promote;
  • use social media; and
  • provide benefits to others

Being that I’m an avid tweeter at events (and a fan of educating and empowering women in healthcare IT), I threw out several snippets of the sessions I was in, which resulted in an interesting dialogue between myself and several other folks:









How have you taken the lead and advanced to the next level? Whether you’re in HIT, HIM or HC, how did you position yourself to reach that next career phase? Please share your experiences and advice in the comments below.

Sorry Coders, It’s Not All About You – 7 Takeaways from #AHIMACon13

Posted on November 1, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

I am finally decompressing from the AHIMA conference held earlier this week in my hometown of Atlanta. Conferences that last more than a day tend to leave me with great insight into the inner workings of healthcare and inspiration for several blog posts. An unfortunate side effect is the mountain of email and suggested industry reading that piles up. Another is feeling pulled in two different directions. As I lamented to several other attendees, it’s hard to dedicate yourself to early sessions and late networking events when you know the family is waiting for you at home.

Despite my inability to catch the early riser sessions, I spent a solid three days at AHIMA attending sessions, walking the show floor and catching up with colleagues in the press room. I came away with a greater understanding of the challenges providers (and vendors) are facing in the transition to ICD-10, as well as insight into how HIM professionals as a whole feel about embracing digital/mobile/connected health in a time (present and future) of heightened patient engagement.

My Takeaways:

1. Not only do coders need to know how to code in ICD-10, but they should also have more contextual knowledge of anatomy and procedures than ever before. Coding veteran Gerri Walk, Senior Coding Manager and AHIMA-Approved ICD-10 trainer at HRS, tells me that to be truly successful in ICD-10, coders can’t just memorize a book. They also must have extensive knowledge of anatomy and be really good at turning what a physician says into the correct code.

2. Coders are so overwhelmed with studying and training for the ICD-10 switch that they don’t have time to think about the bigger financial picture and coding-related consequences. Codes obviously affect reimbursement. The wrong code can lead to audits, appeals and lots of red tape that physicians – particularly those in smaller practices or smaller hospitals – can’t afford. I did not get the feeling that these kinds of consequences are being conveyed at ICD-10 bootcamps and training sessions, which is a pity. This is an assumption on my part, but it seems to me that coders might be more diligent in their coding if they had a real sense of the financial impact their codes have on their organization.

3. Experienced coders only, please. If you’re a recent graduate, you’re likely out of luck. Providers, like the women I spoke with at the Carilion Clinic, want coders with a lot of experience. They may ultimately shoot themselves in the foot, however, by not taking on newer coding professionals. Experienced coders will soon be harder to come by (some are retiring to avoid the ICD-10 transition). Providers might want to seriously consider hiring new grads and turning them into homegrown coding talent. Kayce Dover of recruitment firm HIM Connections tells me she is starting to see more and more of this.

4. Sorry coders, it’s not ALL about you. Physicians’ workflows will take a big hit when ICD-10 kicks into gear thanks to extra interruptions (er, communication) from coding staff. As Kerry Martin, CEO of VitalWare told me, coders will have to distinguish between what a physician says or writes about a procedure, and what a physician actually does during that procedure. (I get the feeling that coders may not be thrilled about having to second-guess physicians.)

5. Many coders are worried their jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence and other technologies not even off the drawing board yet. Their worries are unfounded, according to Shiny George, Senior Director of HIM at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals. She noted in her presentation on HIM in 2020 that their skill sets will still be needed, but will likely be used in different ways with new tools.

6. And speaking of new tools … the HIM profession seems ready and willing to embrace digital / connected health tools, as evidenced by their official endorsement of the Blue Button initiative. Consumer health and wellness apps were mentioned in nearly every session I attended. Patient and consumer engagement in healthcare via mobile devices is definitely on their radar, and they are well aware of the implications it will have on their profession. As George mentioned, HIM should not shy away from this trend, but should seek to embrace it, capturing and interpreting patient data in order to improve quality outcomes.

7. Gender equality is definitely a priority for female HIM professionals when it comes to achieving leadership positions. I attended several sessions on this topic, and will offer insight specific to this takeaway in next week’s post.

#AHIMACon13 Should be Called ICD-10 Con

Posted on October 29, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of and John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

My prediction that the AHIMA Convention would be all ICD-10 all the time was generally true. ICD-10 is on the mind of everyone at the conference. Although, I did hear one attendee that was really happy to find someone that could talk EHR data conversion. They also predicted that next year there would be the year of EHR data conversion. We’ll see how that plays out. I still think next year might be a lot of people complaining about ICD-10.

I’m always impressed by the people I meet at AHIMA. They’re a wonderful group of people that are devoted to the cause of healthcare. These people have some pretty tough and often mundane jobs that often don’t get paid very well, but they do it with such class and dignity. It’s always a pleasure to be around such an amazing group of people.

I’m definitely inspired to do a weekly series of ICD-10 blog posts. I’ll look at starting that next week. Hopefully we can bring out of denial some of the people that aren’t focused on the impacts that ICD-10 can have on their organization. Not to mention the training needs that many have for ICD-10.

I’ve also shot a number of great videos with people I’ve met at AHIMA. They’re short and sweet and hit on a specific subject. I think they impart some good wisdom. Be sure to subscribe to the Healthcare Scene YouTube channel to get the latest video uploads. Plus, we’ll be posting them across the Healthcare Scene network over time.

Are you ready for ICD-10? Are there ICD-10 topics you’d like to see covered in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it in the comments.

Fall Healthcare Conferences: So Many Options, So Little Time

Posted on October 10, 2013 I Written By

As Social Marketing Director at Billian, Jennifer Dennard is responsible for the continuing development and implementation of the company's social media strategies for Billian's HealthDATA and Porter Research. She is a regular contributor to a number of healthcare blogs and currently manages social marketing channels for the Health IT Leadership Summit and Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society. You can find her on Twitter @JennDennard.

Fall conference season is in full swing, and while I didn’t have the opportunity to attend StrataRx or Health 2.0, I was able to follow along via very active tweet streams. I have had the opportunity to attend several regional events, and have several more lined up in the coming weeks. Here is a brief list of those, along with reflections and expectations.

mHealth: Engaging the Masses and Making It Work for Your Bottom Line
This evening event, put on by the Technology Association of Georgia’s Health Society, featured panelists from Kaiser, Cigna, Intel and Accelarad. The back and forth between the four different stakeholders illuminated a number of challenges healthcare as an industry is facing when it comes to broad adoption and regular utilization of mobile health tools. They all want to fit those tools into a business model that not only helps to improve outcomes, but also generates revenue at the same time. (On a side note, I found it very interesting to learn from the Cigna panelist that Aetna is the payer with the best mobile health tools.)

Georgia HIMSS Trade Faire
This daylong event offered a variety of sessions, keynote speakers and an exhibit hall, all situated in Building C of the sprawling Georgia World Congress Center. My favorite session by far was “Georgia Leads the Way: Patient Engagement in Cancer Care.” Stakeholders from Georgia Tech, Cancer Navigators, and the Georgia Department of Community Health were on hand to explain how the ONC-funded program is helping providers engage their patients as full partners, and to show how those patients can actively participate in managing their cancer through the use of mobile technology. It was encouraging to me to know that programs like this are available to people that live north of metro Atlanta.

My day was topped off by a lovely reception hosted by the Health Forward Alliance at the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s scenic rooftop. The alliance is looking to bring innovative thought leaders to the healthcare community to inspire new ways of thinking. It’s a great idea, as I think sometimes healthcare folks get stuck in their healthcare bubble, rarely exposing themselves to fresh perspectives from different industries.

October 27 – 30 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta
I’m excited that AHIMA is in Atlanta this year. No flight delays or strange smelling hotel rooms for me this year. Being that I do technically live in North Georgia, I’ll unfortunately have quite a commute. In my mind, that is all the more reason to soak up as much of the conference as possible. I haven’t combed through the educational session descriptions yet, but I do know I’m looking forward to hearing on Tuesday about connected health from Travis Good, MD, who writes a terrific blog on the topic; and to the Henry Winkler/Marlee Matlin téte a téte Wednesday morning. I had no idea they had such an inspiring story to tell.

Health IT Leadership Summit
November 12, the Fox Theatre, Atlanta
Full disclosure: I’m part of the marketing committee for this event. Nevertheless, I am excited about hearing from WebMD founder and current Sharecare CEO Jeff Arnold. Sharecare is doing some interesting things in the consumer engagement space, effectively trying to bring it to the masses. I hope Arnold will touch on why he thought the time was right to get such an endeavor started, and how he keeps visitors coming back again and again. That seems to be a main sticking point with most engagement tools I read about these days.

I’d love to know of any events coming up I should make a point to attend, as well as your thoughts on any that I mentioned above.