1. What is your first and last name, current title/role, and credentials?
Gretchen Jopp, MS, RHIA, CCS, CPC. I am Assistant Professor in the Healthcare Business Program at Clarkson College
2. What has surprised you about being the HIM profession?
That is is a profession I can stay in my whole career and not get bored. It has changed so much in just the past FIVE years, let along 25 years!
3. What do you like best about being an HIM professional?
I enjoy the health science aspect of the profession, but not having to touch patients or blood. I can learn about, and know so much about health and healthcare, but not have to touch patients!! I enjoy the statistical aspect of coding. I enjoy seeing data that can be compiled from coded information.
4. What have you found to be the most challenging experiences you have had as an HIM professional so far?
I have become more “techy” than I ever imagined becoming. I started out working on a minor in computers in college, but got overwhelmed because those were the days of writing your own code and arrays and loops, who needs it! I’m glad I was able to pick it back up in the dynamic field of health information.
5. If you could change one thing about the HIM profession, what would it be?
I would love to see more continuity in the applications we use in the profession, mainly in EHRs. Each is so different, and as of yet, vendors don’t play well together, so it is difficult to reach the ultimate goal of the birth-to-death electronic health record when all applications are so disparate.
6. Has anyone influenced your decision to become an HIM professional or to change roles within the HIM profession? If so, who and what did they say or do to influence you?
One genre of HIM that I never imagined working in was education. Once I was done with college, I figured that was behind me, now I’ll go DO IT! And that’s what I did for about 22 years or so. Without the long story, I really “tripped upon” my position as an Instructor at Clarkson College and I am continually surprised at how happy I am teaching students. It is such a challenge to find ways to demonstrate our profession to students, and I love when they make connections once they get into practice. On a selfish note, I find that education keeps me up on many areas of HIM, where in previous positions, I’ve felt fairly “pigeon-holed.” Teaching has also given me the opportunity to earn my Masters degree in HIM. That is one of my proudest accomplishments and I thank Carla Dirkschneider for her help and encouragement while I worked through that process.
7. What is an element of being an HIM professional you wish more people understood?
I wish people understood the depth and breadth of HIM. People think it is only data entry, or only billing. There is so much more, and it’s so hard to explain.
8. What do you think will change about the HIM profession over the next five to ten years? Why?
Technology and “big data” absolutely, and as technology grows and advances, continual work will need to be done to keep data clean and secure.
9. What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming an HIM professional?
Honestly, HIM isn’t for everyone. However, if you enjoy the health sciences, data, working alone, working in groups, working from home, working in an office, working with physicians, working with administrators, not working with administrators, organizing data, making data better, HIM is for you! My point is, I believe there’s an avenue within HIM that can interest everyone.
10. Is there any additional information you would like to share with us?
I would like to encourage anyone who hasn’t volunteered yet, on some level, at your local, state or national level, to give it a try. Volunteering on even a small committee helps you to meet people and network, and learn so much about what’s going on in the HIM world. Give it a try!