By Lois Thomson
“It’s a very niche industry,” says Betsy Johnson, and she should know. Johnson is referring to cancer and trauma registry, and she and her partner, Emily Stinner, have founded theHIMpros, a consultant staffing firm that manages the data of the patients who have cancer or trauma cases.
Johnson explained that the work involves reviewing the history of what’s happening with a patient – including the treatment, and any surgeries or procedures that were performed. “The registrars load the data into the hospital’s registry software, which is then downloaded into state and national registries, for the purpose of keeping track of the patients moving forward.”
For example, Johnson said that after cancer patients are treated and/or have surgery, the hospital will do follow-up. “They will keep track every year – is the patient in remission, has the patient passed away, do they have a recurrence? Anywhere the patient moves, the hospital is still in charge of following up with that record.” She further explained there may be a thousand patients in a particular area who have cancer. “The registrar’s job is to document the surgeries, the type of cancer, and what happened, and the physician will use that information to run reports on why people in this area are getting this type of cancer. Is there something in the water, is there anything that’s a common ground? They take the abstracts of all of the different patients and use them to work on treatments and care plans.”
She also said a multidisciplinary approach will often be used, where the surgical, radiology, and oncology teams will all come together to meet with the patient to see what type of treatments work best, based on their datapoints. They will take the information they’ve collected from others who have had similar types of cancer and use that to help in the treatment plan for new patients.
According to Johnson, the work the registrars do is very specific, and they must have a certification. “There’s not a lot of them – perhaps 6,000 nationwide – and many are retired even though they still hold their credentials. The number for trauma registrars is higher because there are nurses who have transitioned over to do more of the data management work.”
However, Johnson and Stinner worked together at a previous company, and they bring that knowledge to theHIMpros. “There aren’t a lot of people who do it but being in the field for 13 or 14 years, Emily and I both had a lot of contacts. We know people who do this work – both the experts and the newer people in the field. When we decided to start the company – we’re a women-owned business – we wanted to use our knowledge and connections to do it our way; so, we’re doing what the clients need, what our consultants need, and trying to do it the best way possible.”
The importance of recording this data can be found in the fact that hospitals, in order to maintain their status, must be reaccredited by the Commission on Cancer or the American Trauma Society, and they must complete a survey every three years for cancer registry, and every other year for trauma. A backlog can occur if there’s just not enough help for some reason. When that happens, the hospitals can contact theHIMpros. “They will come to us and say, “We have a 2,000-case backlog, and we have our survey next year, we need some help to get the cases caught up, and make sure the data is correct and the quality is good.’We help with that, so they qualify to stay accredited.’”
Because the work can be done remotely, theHIMpros provides services nationwide. The registrars are able to log into the hospital network, and in compliance with HIPAA guidelines, are able to find the information they need within the network, do the work, collect the data, and record the results directly into the hospital system.
Stinner said that in addition to the registry work, “We also offer concierge placement services. It’s no secret that it’s challenging to hire right now, and even more challenging to hire good talent. So our concierge placement services offer custom-tailored solutions for healthcare facilities and hospitals to find the next radiologist, the director of nursing, etc. And all of those are customized to the hospitals’ specific needs.”
theHIMpros provides vital services to the healthcare industry, and as Johnson concluded, “It’s a very amazing field to be in.”
For more information, call (813) 798-2133, or visit www.thehimpros.com.