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Health Informatics and Information Management

Published on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Published on August 19, 2015
Coding, CDI manager opens up about HIIM opportunities


By Greg Davis
Coding and CDI manager,
Health Information Services,
North Mississippi Medical Center, Tupelo

In 1995, I received an associate's degree in computer science and then transferred to a local university to finish my undergraduate degree.

I worked as a PC technician in the assistive technology department at that university. While assisting individuals to realize a greater level of independence with technology, I made the decision to go to nursing school.

In 1997, while attending nursing school, I started working as a nursing assistant at North Mississippi Medical Center (NMMC) in Tupelo. I obtained my nursing degree in 2000 and then worked as a staff R.N. in orthopedics and pediatric specialties.

Within a few years, an opportunity came along to work in the management information department as a liaison between the IT staff and the medical staff. With my IT and nursing background, I jumped at the opportunity. 

I worked in our inpatient and ambulatory electronic medical records, trained physicians and clinic staff on the computer systems along with custom programming and HL7 interface development for third-party vendors for 12 years. During my time in the department, I was given the opportunity to continue my professional education.

I obtained my Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management information systems from the University of Mississippi in 2010. I then was encouraged to obtain my master's degree, so I enrolled in the Master of Health Informatics and Information Management program in the School of Health Related Professions at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

Although my goal was to stay in the IT field and focus on informatics, I felt the opportunity to obtain my Registered Health Information Administrator (R.H.I.A.) degree and expand my knowledge in information management would be very beneficial to my career. Through the coursework, I was given more opportunities to work with our H.I.M. department, and I felt this was the
best path for my future.

A month before graduation, I was offered the coding and clinical documentation improvement (CDI) manager position in the H.I.M. department here at NMMC. In November 2013, I accepted the position. Within two weeks, I obtained my R.H.I.A. and graduated from UMMC in December 2013. 

Since graduation, I volunteered as the northern liaison with the Mississippi Health Information Management Association a component state association of the American Health Information Management Association. In November 2014, I also sat for and passed my Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) certification.

My future plans are to continue to volunteer with MSHIMA and obtain my Certified Documentation Improvement Practioner (C.D.I.P.) certification. The Master of Health Informatics and Information Management (M.H.I.I.M.) degree was an excellent educational opportunity and really opened up new avenues for my future. 


Analyst explains how an HIIM degree can lead to an Epic career

By Janie Free
Associate Epic application coordinator/analyst, Information Systems

When I graduated from Mississippi College in 2011, I would've never imagined that in three years I'd be working at UMMC as an Epic analyst. In fact, I was in the process of submitting graduate applications to marriage and family counseling programs.

Following graduation, I was not successful in gaining employment in my field of study. However, I feel fortunate that during school, I had been working part-time at UMMC as a student researcher. Upon graduation, I was offered a full-time position as an administrative assistant in the Division of Digestive Diseases.

It wasn't long before I had my first exposure to Epic, the Electronic Health Record system used at the Medical Center. My formal training of Epic was limited, but I found myself fascinated with the system.

Across campus, departments were preparing for the big transition from paper charts to Epic. Hallway conversations were filled with tones of excitement and angst over the topic.

I watched firsthand as some of my coworkers and physicians and nurses whom I admired for their excellence in patient care struggled navigating through the system. I wanted to help.

It was during this time that I realized how valuable the knowledge of health information management is to the clinical component of the health-care delivery system.

When I learned that UMMC's School of Health Related Professions was one of a very select number of programs across the country that offered an M.H.I.I.M. degree, I felt it was the right career path for me.

During the course of my studies, one of my professors suggested that I should consider applying for an Epic analyst position. I figured I had nothing to lose, as the worse they could say was 'no.'

This was the best piece of advice and encouragement that any professor has ever offered to me. I became Epic Ambulatory Certified in December of 2014.

I continue to learn something new each day and I feel as though I've found my niche in health care. During the course of my career, I hope to contribute to the delivery of improved patient care by optimizing the system and making clinician workflows more efficient so real efforts can be focused on providing the highest quality of care to patients.

About the program
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