In 1996, I began my college experience headed down the career path of Music Therapy. I wanted to combine my love for music and my desire to help people. However, that path did not last long. Like a lot of college students, my path changed directions a few times. In 1999, after only being married for a little less than a year, my husband and I bought our first house together. We were excited to start our lives together while still managing to continue our education. However, after just making one mortgage payment, the May 3, 1999 tornado hit and leveled our home. With the chaos of these events and life just evolving around us with the birth of our first child the next year, college took a backburner for me for just a bit.
A few years and four kids later, I was ready to finish where I had left off. The only question now was what degree! I had left off at Early Childhood Education. Well- I had enough of that at home. As much as I love children and appreciate those that teach my children, I wanted something different. I had been working at Integris Health for several years at that time in Access/Registration in the ER and initially thought about pursuing a degree in nursing, but quickly learned that might not be the best course for me. I wanted to find something where I could use some of the knowledge base I had obtained in registration along with my desire to help people and apply that to a new career path. The first roadblock I crossed was to find a program that I could incorporate with my busy lifestyle. I started researching the different programs offered at the local schools and was excited when I found Health Information Management at SWOSU and that it was offered online! An online program would work perfectly into this busy mom’s life. I felt incredibly blessed to have been given this opportunity. Going from a traditional student to a non-traditional student was extremely different. It was no longer just me. Now I had five other people to consider, but with the support of my husband and the grace of God it proved to be well worth it!
I love that HIM is a profession with a plethora of field options from data analytics, governance, compliance, informatics and so much more. It is an ever-growing and changing field. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of health information professionals to increase by eight percent through 2029—that’s double the national average for all occupations. Our profession is continually evolving, and we must be prepared to change and evolve with it.
As AHIMA put it nicely, we work at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business, and this puts us in a unique position to advocate for our patients in a way that no one else can. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for readily available, reliable data access, not only for purposes of research and public health, but to meet patient demands as well. This has now led to an even greater need for accurate, quality information that is stored, protected, accessed and used across the health continuum.
My hope for this 2022-2023 OkHIMA year is to partner with AHIMA’s strategic plan and empower health information professionals as we realize our vision of improving and saving lives through health information. I am excited for this year and look forward to working with the many volunteers that make OkHIMA great! The OkHIMA board strives to empower HIM professionals by advancing their skills in a variety of ways. If you would like the opportunity to volunteer and help serve the members, please check out the OkHIMA Volunteerism Cards on your table on how to contact us to see what opportunities are available to serve. I think Helen Keller stated it best, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
Jana Davis, RHIA