Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Bobbi finds her dream job in health records

By Louise Kinross

Bobbi Champagne is a self-described nerd who loves technology and medicine. She came to Holland Bloorview as a George Brown health information management student in 2015, and was hired after graduating. Since then she’s moved through a number of roles to health records analyst. Last year Bobbi applied for No Boundaries funding and ran a highly successful parenting workshop on video gaming and safety. “I love video games, and I know a lot of parents don’t,” she says. “I felt I could give parents a really good insider perspective on what online gaming is, and how parents can get comfortable setting boundaries.” This interview is part of a series of candid interviews with staff about what it means to work in children's rehab.

BLOOM: How did you get into this field?

Bobbi Champagne:
I was always really into medical science and computers. I’m a huge nerd. I’ve even built my own gaming computer. I thought I wanted to go into psychology but I’m not someone who enjoyed being in school a lot. I studied cognitive science at the University of Toronto. But I found it way too theoretical for me. The George Brown program was a happy medium: it was practical, involved technology and dealt with health information.

BLOOM: What is a typical day like here?

Bobbi Champagne:
In my regular job I monitor all of the transcription workload, the patient reports that go to Connect2Care portal, and I answer questions from families who e-mail support questions.

BLOOM: What is it like to transcribe reports?

Bobbi Champagne:
It’s getting to hear the doctors go through their cases and explain the situation. Every child’s situation is completely different. You never hear a report that’s the same, whether the child has autism or cerebral palsy. I think our doctors do a really good job of making it about the client’s adventure and journey through the system, vs. just the medical story.

I’m also involved in medical coding on each inpatient that we submit to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. And I played a major role in our scanning project. We’re scanning all of our paper charts into our electronic health record, so it’s completely electronic.

BLOOM: What is your role in our upgrade to a more user-friendly electronic medical record?

Bobbi Champagne:
I was seconded for a day and a half each week as the co-team lead for the health information team. We’re responsible for the build of the health information management application, medical coding, scanning and archiving and transcription. Meditech Expanse is a new system. It’s like we’re rebuilding in a new way.

BLOOM: What are the joys of your job?

Bobbi Champagne:
I definitely like working with technology every day and my job has gotten a lot more exciting being part of the Expanse project. I feel I’m able to make big decisions on how our new system will run and work, and the work flows for our department and for transcription.

I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to work on the Expanse project and in my day to day work I’ve become the tech support for our department. People in our department will come to me before they go to information systems. I like being able to help people.

I ran into a mom in the elevator and she was crying and apologized to me. I ended up talking to her, and letting her vent a bit. Even though I’m not clinical, being able to reach out to families when I get a chance means a lot.

Bobbi Champagne: What are the challenges?

Bobbi Champagne:
The paper. Since I started our department’s goal is to be as paperless as possible and it can be really difficult to get everyone on board with that. Even for me, I prefer to write paper, handwritten notes. So to get everyone to shift to reading documents on their computer can be difficult. The transition from paper to electronic in health care is a difficult one.

BLOOM: What can help staff make the leap?

Bobbi Champagne:
I think the demonstrations we’ve done in the cafeteria where we show how the system looks and works, and expose them to why it’s easier, helps.

BLOOM: What qualities does someone need to do your job well?

Bobbi Champagne:
You need to have an interest in technology. For transcription, you need to be a quick typist. You need to multi-task, and you’d want to be interested in medical science. You have to have some level of medical and physiological knowledge to transcribe, and to notice when there’s a discrepancy between what’s dictated and what’s going on.

BLOOM: So you go back to doctors to clarify?

Bobbi Champagne:
Yes. The full-time transcriptionists let me know if there are any discrepancies in the information, or if they can’t make words out.

BLOOM: What have you learned about families?

Bobbi Champagne:
They’re very resilient. I don’t know if I could put myself in their shoes. Especially the inpatient families that are here every day, and their kids are going through really extreme, intense therapy. They have the resilience to come back every day and have faith that their child will do better.

BLOOM: Why did you decide to run the gaming workshop for parents?

Bobbi Champagne:
When the No Boundaries funding came out, I had this idea that I wanted to get more involved with our families. Being in an admin role, I don’t get to help them directly. I have a specific knowledge set and interest in gaming, and I felt I could use it to inform families. The workshop was called Gaming and Social Media Tips for Parents.

I talked about video games and online safety, and the social worker, Gabriella Carafa, talked about parenting strategies. The parents were amazing. They were super receptive and engaged and asked lots of questions. At the end, they thanked me and said they’d learned a lot and gained perspective on what kids can be exposed to online. I was extremely nervous to host it. But I think I did exactly what I was hoping to do, which was fulfilling.

BLOOM: If you could change one thing about Holland Bloorview, what would it be?

Bobbi Champagne:
Improving the navigation of the health system. I know we already work hard towards that, but figuring out where to go and how to get help, and navigating the application forms for funding, can be very difficult—for us and the families. Even though we have a single-payer system, it can still be difficult to figure out how to get extra support, especially as children get older and transition into adulthood, or transition here from out of province or country.

Got an idea for a staff member who would make a great interview? Message Louise at lkinross@hollandbloorview.ca. This interview was suggested by Sean Peacocke.