Scientific Revision to the Instruction Plan for Health Information Management Specialty Students at Beijing Health School

Wan Jiang


In order to achieve a sophisticated instruction and a much more efficient training program, Beijing Health School revises the instruction plan for health information management students annually. The principle in revising is to make the program suit the requirements of the career market. The revision is based on the results of the investigation for the future employment market. Three minor specialties are designed for students to choose. These specialties are statistics and records management; medical insurance; and archives and bookkeeping. Each student is to take two of them to complete the study in the health information management program. Adjustments of subjects and learning contents are made to the individual minor specialty. Stimulating students' motivation to study and keeping them sticking to their own areas of interests are emphasized. A credit system is introduced to manage students' learning process. An Instructor Guidance Team is made of experienced subject teachers, health information analysts, and employment consultants. These consultants are to provide the team with the analysis of the future job market.

Keywords : health information and record management, instruction plan, revise, school year, credit system, course design


In 2000, Beijing Health School began teaching health information specialty and in 2004, the fourth year of freshmen will be brought in. Before each new school year begins, revisions to the curriculum and instruction materials are to be completed. Someone may think that this revision work is only to change subjects or to adjust teaching materials and teaching hours, but in fact, it is a summing up of the previous school year, or even several previous school years. It will set a specialty development aim for new students. For this purpose, school administrators must have a distinctive guidance theory and a professional quality to provide the students with a scientific and efficient teaching. The health information and records management specialty trains students to be professionals with career knowledge and skills. Compared to the other information management professionals, health information management is developing very fast and requires much more knowledge in doing the job. Because of this, an experienced professional academic team plays a very important role in the specialty construction work. Following this guidance theory, the school has formed an Instructor Guidance Team comprised of experienced classroom teachers, professional health information administrators, and employment consultants whose task is to investigate the needs of employment market and to make analysis on what special knowledge and skills are required in the students' future careers. Based on these requirements gleaned from reality of the society, the curriculum and instruction material is adjusted to meet the standards and to avoid teaching blindly in the new school year.

Setting the Aim of the Specialty Training

Whether graduates are capable of doing professionally related jobs depends on what professional training aim is set for their study of the specialty courses. This aim setting involves investigating, understanding, analyzing, and predicting the future career market and must be made before commencing any revisions on curriculum and instruction materials for the new school year. Special jobs need special knowledge and skills. For this reason, some subjects are added to the new training program. For example, in revising specialty training programs for the year 2002-2003, program aims are set on training hospital and community health information management clerks, medical insurance specialists, archivists and bookkeepers; so the revising is to adjust required and elective courses for those students.

Changing Semester Schooling System to Credit System

The basic idea in revising the instruction plan is to let students be better educated, more proficient, have more opportunity in the career market, be capable of handling practical situations, have the ability to continuously study, and adapt themselves to the changing career environment. To follow this idea, the instruction plan lays much emphasis on the training of students' professional and practical abilities. The required and elective courses are designed to have more practical training hours. For example, in the year 2002, the total teaching hours to complete the health information management program is 3,294; 1,914 hours were for basic medical theories; and 1,380 hours were for experiments and practical training. The whole plan is divided into 4 parts:

  1. The required courses have 1,838 hours, using 55.57 percent of the total hours. Students who complete this part of study will obtain required basic knowledge and skills for doing health information management work.
  2. The required elective courses (including specialty developing courses and other required elective courses) have 682 hours, using 20.6 percent of the total hours. Students who complete this part will be capable of doing different work in relation to health information management specialty.
  3. The optional elective courses have 114 hours, which is 3.5 percent of the total hours, and these courses are general interest in different subjects, such as, literature, art, history, and more. Students can choose them to satisfy their personal interests. The purpose of this part is to let students grow with a mind of broad knowledge so as to develop in an all-round way.
  4. The practical period before graduation has 660 hours; it is another 20 percent of the total hours. When finished with this period, students will have a complete understanding of their career and obtained the necessary skills.

The specialty courses have three specialty models based on individual specialty development course combinations. They are: statistics and records management, medical insurance agents and archives, and bookkeeping. Each of these specialties is comprised of required courses and selective courses covering the individual specialty. Students are supposed to take two of them as their specialty studies. This choice makes them more competitive in the employment market. The main idea in designing these specialty models is to create an environment for free development of the students with different abilities, interests and talents. To carry out this plan, the school has applied a credit system and a flexible schooling system to the information and records management programs. This credit system and flexible system focus on strengthening students' self study ability. Students are taken as the number one role in the plan and have some flexibility in choosing their own specialties. The combination of required elective and optional courses give more time and space for the students to keep up their study interests and develop in an all-round way. Our school has set up a series of administrative regulations to carry out the instruction plan. Computers and school networks administer all students' selection of courses, academic credits, test results, and earned points.

Adjustment to the Curriculum and Instruction Plan

Scientific and rational curriculum, and sophisticated instruction, is the foundation to: smooth performance of the credit system; the improvement of student's academic quality; and, the training of students' creativity. It is a powerful weapon in coping with the challenge of the information era of science and technology. In designing specialty courses and required selective courses, selection and edition must be made to keep up with the changes in the employment market. Since 2001, in designing health information and records management specialty courses, our school's principle is to set up several combinations of diversified specialty courses for health information and records management students. Though they have different diversified courses, they all have one identical academic core of required courses in health information management. Students completing diversified specialty courses have more choices in job hunting and have their personal interests developing as well. These diversified specialty courses satisfy students' personality development and have, in fact, been a good coordination of individual needs, specialty study, and knowledge structures.

Adjustment to Course Design

In 2002, two more diversified specialties, medical insurance and archives, and bookkeeping were added under the health information and records management specialty. The medical insurance major is designed to meet the needs of China's market economy system reform and to satisfy the rapidly increasing demands for society insurance experts. These two courses have subjects in medical science, financial insurance, information management, and sociology as well. Graduates will be working as insurance agents. They are capable of searching and obtaining medical information. Their major work includes supervising, managing, and appreciating the medical service process, service level, and service quality. It is, in fact, another diversified specialty of the health information management program. The required courses of the health information and records management program provide students with necessary medical science knowledge and train them to have the ability to obtain medical information themselves. Course subjects are edited to suit the requirements by the health information and records management society. For medical insurance students, "basics in insurance" and "basics in financials" are added to their subject list; the optional selective course, "medical insurance" is changed to a required selective course, "medical insurance system and medical insurance"; and "medicine" is changed from an optional course to a required course so as to meet the requirements of the specialty.

Adjustment to Instruction Contents and Classroom Hours

Health information and records specialty graduates' work involves mostly collecting, sorting, saving, and transforming information, but very little in further information analysis. Therefore, some of instruction plan's classroom hours and material contents are taken off from the subjects. For example, in the revised teaching plan, the subject "international disease categorizing" requires students to have only basic knowledge and skills in international disease categorization methods and ordinary disease categorizations. Teaching of "disease basics" is totally changed from teaching it by category to by the whole system. Information and records management is a required main course for every student. It combines the basics of health information and records management, hospital information management, community information, and records management; and each of these instructional contents and classroom hours are adjusted flexibly to the requirements of students' diversified specialty studies. In designing the instruction plan for practical management professionals, the emphasis is on hands-on skills in performance. For this purpose, more practical experience lessons are added to improve practical abilities. This addition is made, as well, to the subjects of: "computer practical usage"; "network technology"; "modern office management"; "health information searching"; "health information management," and "health statistics." For those fast changing subjects such as "computer practical usage," "network technology," "modern office management," "health information management," etc., adjustments are to the current needs of the instruction plans.


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Source: 2004 IFHRO Congress & AHIMA Convention Proceedings, October 2004