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Educating the HI Workforce: She Wrote the Book (Literally)

Brooke N. Palkie, EdD, CPHIMS, RHIA, FAHIMA

December 5, 2023

We asked Brooke N. Palkie, EdD, CPHIMS, RHIA, FAHIMA, about her career as an educator and author in the health information (HI) field. Palkie, graduate program director, health care administration and health informatics, Charter Oak State College, New Britain, CT, shares her passion for preparing the next generation of HI professionals and why her career is so rewarding in this Q&A. Her two latest books on ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS 2024 coding, coauthored with Stacey Walraven, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CPC, are being published this month.

What led you to pursue a career in HI and to specifically focus on medical coding?

HI careers provide opportunities to play a critical role in healthcare. The skillsets that HI professionals hold is vast. When you use that vast foundation to hone in on specialty areas, you become even stronger. Knowing how clinical classifications are structured was my first intrigue. The coding function itself impacts so many areas: clinical documentation integrity, quality improvement, analytics, revenue cycle, informatics, and the list goes on … but only if the codes captured are accurate. This specific foundation allows all other critical functions that utilize this data to be meaningful and impactful to the patient, to the facility, and to the greater population served.

Why did you decide to become an educator and author?

I have always had a passion for teaching. Whether that was through training or with formal education itself. For me, textbooks and resources are an extension of formal education. It provides the foundation of the competencies so higher education professionals can help mold and mentor the next generation of professionals. Authoring contributes by providing one of the key tools in the chest to help assist students be successful. 

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your career?

The feeling you experience when a student successfully completes one of your courses or the entirety of your program is hard to explain. It is very rewarding to assist and mentor them to reach the ultimate goal of receiving a degree. They are the next generation of professionals with individual strengths and, when coupled with necessary skill sets, can contribute more fully to improving healthcare, which is the objective for all of us in the HI profession.

What do you see in the future for coding and the HI profession?

We have and always will be changing as healthcare and technology change. Is it more accelerated now? Sure! If we stay ahead of the curve and utilize the critical tools and technology that are emerging, our roles will continue to metamorphosize to provide more accurate and timely data and contribute to improved access, security, and analysis. This is an amazing opportunity to show the broader healthcare industry how truly diversified and competent our HI professionals are.

You have been actively involved in AHIMA for many years. Why?  

We are family in this profession. Culture is something that has resonated with me for a long time. Regardless of where we are geographically, where we are in specialty, or how long we have been in the field, AHIMA provides a culture of inclusivity and a lifelong learning philosophy. The workforce is depending on this! 

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