Communication within Health Information Management


Why is Health Information Department Important?

The world of healthcare is constantly changing, from the aspect of the clinical and business side. With continuous alterations it is very important to have the right people on staff at a facility. From the business point of view, a significant part of a healthcare organization is the Health Information Department. This department handles things such as insurance billing, release of patient information, and protection of patient health records.

Who is Linda Echols? 

Linda Echols is from El Dorado, Arkansas and graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a Health Information Management Degree. Linda’s first year at Louisiana Tech she pursued a degree in computer science, but later decided that this was not for her. She always loved the medical field but did not want to do patient care. When she found out about the Health Information Management career she knew that this is what she wanted to do. With this degree you do things related to healthcare but do not have to deal with the patients, and Linda said that, “this was the best fit for me.” As she began her career after graduation she started out in El Dorado, Arkansas, today she lives in Monroe, Louisiana and drives to Ruston to work at the Northern Louisiana Medical Center, where she succeeds as the Health Information Management Director.

What role does writing have in the workplace?

Within the workplace Linda does not produce very much writing as someone might think. Linda says that, “probably memos or emails is what I do the most.” Normally her audience for the types of writings she composes are “either employees or physicians, but sometimes to corporate” and her tone used throughout her writings are “professional tones.” With many of her emails she uses the SBAR (Situation, Background, Assessment, and Recommendation) format, which is normally what is used for nurses’ notes. Using this format makes it easier for people to understand what is being discussed. Linda says, “instead of rambling all over the place it gets your thoughts more organized.” Another type of writing that she completes includes HIPAA Tips, they are produced into a newsletter for the public. These tips are normally only about a paragraph and inform the public of things they need to know about sharing patient information.

Is Working with Others Important?

Most of the written material that she composes does not include the help of others, she completes the documents herself. She is involved on a forms committee within the hospital, she proofs forms given to her and looks for areas of improvement. Linda does have to work within groups with different employees, she is on a variety of committees where they have to meetup to discuss different topics. A safety huddle is a group that she has to encounter every day. Within her department all of the employees gather together and discuss, “any safety issues from the past 24 hours, anything that you feel will be an issue in the next 24 hours, and any operational issues.” When she conducts meetings within her Health Information Department they are very informal because she, “feels like they are all a team.” But when she has meetings with a group of physicians or with a more formal committee, such as quality, it would be formal.

Need Writing Tips?

For anyone who is writing she gives suggestions such as, “just write it down then go back and reread it to polish it up. Also to make sure it is clear so that your reader would be able to understand what you are talking about.” She also says that, “I try to make sure that I am clear on who I am addressing throughout my messages. For example he, she, her, or him, I like to be specific such as Doctor Smith and I like when others do this as well, that way I know who they are talking about.”


Mercedes Jordan


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