Recently, I had the opportunity to join the Education Community of Practice launched by IFHIMA. This is a large and heterogeneous group of participants from all corners of the world. For me, it is an exciting and very enriching opportunity because it makes my mind step outside its comfort zone to try to understand the reality of those on the other side of my screen.

At the first meeting, held on July 23, I could verify this. Firstly, the great difference in profiles that exist for the same purpose was revealed: health information management (HIM). In my country, Spain, this role is played by doctors called “Documentalist Doctors” who, in the best of cases, are trained through a master’s degree in HIM, but also in coding, patient flow management, management of patient’s health, personal data protection, and design of the clinical history, currently electronic. Our work has to constantly adapt to technological changes and be sufficiently resilient to them. Furthermore, we are in continuous contact with other areas of the hospital such as the IT Department, the Hospital Management, or the Customers Service, and sometimes the boundaries are blurred.

Nevertheless, as I said at the beginning of the meeting, I realized there are other types of HIM professionals, from whom I hope to learn how they are trained and what types of tasks they carry out in their workplaces. Despite these differences, in the group, there are common concerns that pose challenges in our work regardless of the country in which we develop it, such as the appearance of ChatGPT in our lives or other artificial intelligence tools.

Concerning the topic of the role of the HIM professional, on June 15, the XIX National Conference on Medical Documentation of the Spanish Society of Medical Documentation (SEDOM) took place, in which this topic was discussed. The conferences are a forum where Spanish documentary doctors and related professionals talk about the issues that concern us in our day-to-day lives, inviting experts or people with experience. On this occasion, one of the tables dealt with the service portfolio of Medical Documentation services in Spanish hospitals. Among the speakers were, in addition to expert doctors, a computer scientist who works with health data. In conclusion, we can talk about the need to collaborate between different disciplines to obtain adequate products in the world of health data management, the need to homogenize the tasks of our services in Spain, and the capacity to adapt that we must achieve to face the challenges of demographic changes and the evolution of information and communication technologies.

Two other tables dealt with coding, interoperability, and the new existing AI tools. On the one hand, the need for coding the outpatient pathology and possible automated solutions to address the enormous task that this entails were discussed. On the other hand, “Terminologies and coding systems for the analysis of clinical information” such as SNOMED were discussed.

In conclusion, through the two experiences reported, I realize that the global challenges and concerns of professionals who process health data coincide largely, so all contributions in this regard will enrich the possible solutions.


Rosa de Ramón Frias

Spain National Deputy Director

Rosa de Ramón Frias, Spain National Deputy Director