Managing Health Information - William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
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William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital


Managing Health Information

Diagram of Health Information Managment made up of clinical skills, Information technology and managment skills.

Diagram of Health Information Managment made up of clinical skills, Information technology and managment skills.

By Jane Ludwig, Health System Specialist
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The central focus for today’s healthcare is on the consumer and how they use and manage their health information.  Patients are given many choices and options when it comes to their protected health information (PHI) and it is important for them to understand their rights under law.  Every consumer has the right to:

  • View and access their information
  • Request and receive copies of their information
  • Request confidential communications of PHI
  • Request a correction or update to their health information
  • Request a restriction to their health information (keep certain information from ever being released)
  • Request an accounting of disclosures (log of where certain information was released as defined by law)

Did you know the VA was the first health care organization to develop an electronic health record?

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has had automated data processing systems, including extensive clinical and administrative capabilities, within its medical facilities since before 1985.   Initially called the Decentralized Hospital Computer Program (DHCP) information system, DHCP was enshrined as a recipient of the Computerworld "Smithsonian Award"  for best use of Information Technology in Medicine in 1995. The interface for clinicians called the Computerized Patient Record System (CPRS) was released in 1997 and is used by interdisciplinary teams of health care providers to record, create, archive, and access electronic information covering all aspects of patient care and treatment.   Because it was created using taxpayer monies by the federal government, the software is public domain and available for free over the internet (but it must be supported by a VistA style infrastructure).   Most importantly, the system was developed by health care providers, for health care providers, thus guaranteeing practicality and usability.

With an electronic health record, healthcare providers can share information more easily and consumers see advantages. The advantages include:

  • improved quality of care
  • Increased efficiencies in the services provided
  • information available at the time of healthcare
  • allowing consumers to make educated decisions about their care

As more information is shared, consumers can play an active role in understanding their disease and treatment process.  Health information management (HIM) professionals will always strive to protect the privacy and security of all health information.  HIM professionals understand how the data is used by healthcare providers and consumers. They work with many members of the healthcare team to make sure the health record contains the most accurate data possible and that the information is used correctly.

Go to Release of Information to learn how to contact Madison VA regarding your medical records.



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