AHIMA’s Virtual Health Information Technology Lab
In 2006, AHIMA launched its Virtual Lab, an internet-based software lab designed for health information management (HIM) education. Featuring multiple software applications and corresponding lab lessons, the Virtual Lab is an affordable solution for bringing health information technology software to the classroom, and has over 200 subscribing colleges and universities.
- The Virtual Lab program includes access to various health information software and corresponding lessons.
- Designed for use in online or on-campus learning environments.
- Minimal IT requirements for the user’s PC to reduce setup time and costs for the school.
- Designed specifically for use in HIM academic programs,and also available for other allied health programs, HIM workforce training, and continuing education.
- Virtual Lab maintenance and customer support are included in the enrollment fee.
- No additional hardware is required for system maintenance and/or hosting.
- Instructor training is offered online at no charge.
- Face-to-face training opportunities are available at nominal costs.
- Lesson and instructor resources are available through an online lesson repository.
- School enrollment fees are based on number of students.
Virtual Lab Applications
The Virtual Lab includes a variety of critical HIM software applications. Each application is based on a commercially available product, and has been customized or configured for optimal experiential learning.
ATHENS/Cerner PowerChart and HIM ProFile applications
This electronic health record (EHR) system, designed specifically for academic use, includes more than 20 simulated hospital cases or charts. Lessons direct students in basic navigation of the electronic chart. Users can build their own “play patients,” allowing them to explore clinical and management tools and functions in the EHR, and build knowledge and skills in clinical information systems. This system also explores:
- Patient registration
- Clinical documentation tools and processes—
- order entry
- narrative and structured documents tools
- Clinical decision support tools (alerts and reminders)
- Deficiency management
- Electronic Chart Tracking
- Legal Concepts
QuadraMed MPI Suite
The MPI software suite is for use in patient identity management and duplicate record management, and in maintaining database integrity. The database includes more than 50,000 patient demographic records, with approximately 5,000 potential duplicate sets. QuadraMed Smart ID is used for patient registration and prevention of duplicate records, while SmartMerge provides tools for duplicate management, including analysis and duplicate cleanup. Lessons explore the following topics and tools in the software:
- Front-end registration
- Tools for analysis of data integrity
- Tools for resoliving duplicate records
- Duplicate management workflows and issues
- Virtual management tools
QuadraMed Quantim Encoders (ICD-9 and ICD-10)
This knowledge-based encoder software includes ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnostic and procedure codebooks, CPT and HCPCS codebooks, and reimbursement groupers. Students can access extensive coding and general references, such as a medical dictionary, a drug reference guide, and anatomy illustrations, and can gain familiarity with encoder software tools and the resources they provide. The package includes:
- Encoder for coding practice
- Coding references
- Abstracting and compliance software
- Coded data set
3M Coding and Reimbursement System (ICD-9 and ICD-10)
3M’s decision-based encoder software provides students with access to ICD-9 and ICD-10 diagnostic codebooks and procedure codebooks, CPT and HCPCS codebooks, and reimbursement groupers, and includes extensive coding and general references (a medical dictionary, a drug reference guide, and anatomy illustrations). Students gain familiarity with encoder software tools and the resources they provide. The 3M package includes:
- Encoder for coding practice
- DRG grouper for reimbursement concepts
- Extensive coding reference
McKesson Horizon Patient Folder
Horizon Patient Folder is a document imaging system for managing health records that gives physicians, HIM personnel and other hospital staff anytime, anywhere access to review, analyze, code and complete electronic charts in their electronic medical records system. It allows HIM departments to become “virtual”, giving staff the ability to work remotely while letting authorized hospital personnel view patient records electronically. With student work queues set up for deficiency management and chart analysis activities, this creates a unique practice environment for students.
Lessons provide students with opportunity to:
- Analyze charts for common “deficiencies”
- Missing signatures
- Missing text or dictation
- Missing or misfiled documents
- Learn how software tools are used to identify and manage deficiencies
HealthPort EDMS (Electronic Document Management System)
This document imaging system provides the main chart repository for the Virtual Lab. The system includes over 300 patient encounters, and provides a flexible resource available for use in coding exercises, chart analysis, general orientation to the forms and indexing in the medical record, etc. Chart indexing makes it easy for instructors to select charts by patient type or coding category.
HealthPort ROI (eSmartLog and SmartLink)
This HealthPort suite allows students to log and analyze release of patient information requests online. Requests and corresponding charts from the Virtual Lab chart repository are reviewed, and the student can submit their “assignments” (documents they determine can be released, based on the request) electronically to their instructor via SmartLink. Specially configured for academic use, the system and corresponding lessons provide students with exposure to key concepts in ROI.
Included is a trial copy of Tableau’s data visioning and analysis software, along with practice data sets and a training webcast developed for HIM students.
The Virtual Lab’s applications and exercises will continue to be developed as new software becomes available, and/or as changes in the external environment result in changes in HIM practice.
For more information about subscribing to AHIMA’s Virtual Lab, please contact Sandra Kersten at (312) 233-1193, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
To view a short simulation of AHIMA’s Virtual Lab log on to: