jeannine.teagueAs an area manager for IOD Incorporated, a vendor that provides health information services to facilities including St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham,  Jeannine Teague, RHIA, CPC-A, sees herself as a patient advocate.

“It is my responsibility to ensure that we protect the patient’s right to privacy and confidentiality by following HIPAA laws when releasing information to the different types of requesters that require information for a specific purpose,” said Teague. “In document imaging, it is my responsibility to ensure that we are operating successfully with scanning the paper medical record into the EHR accurately and completely.  These two things are very important in the medical field because they can affect the level of care received by the patient if all of their information is not present or accurate when they seek additional care, or need specific information released for another purpose.”

Teague knew she wanted to be in healthcare to improve it, but she wanted to work behind the scenes. As a single mom working full-time and trying to raise three boys, she needed a degree that was flexible. The UAB bachelor’s degree in health information management (HIM) fit the bill.

“The UAB HIM program has a good reputation in the industry, and UAB was very convenient since it offered online and evening classes,” said Teague. “As a single working mother, this was very important to me.”

She at first thought she wanted to be a coder, but as she completed the variety of classes offered in her curriculum, her interest grew in information management. Teague graduated in May 2011.

She tells students to think about what classes they liked best in the program in addition to the ones they excelled. She also encourages students to take advantage of the UAB Career Center for advice on resumes and mock interviews.

“As I review resumes to hire new employees, a good resume will be the difference between a call for an interview, and not being considered at all,” said Teague. “Go to the RHIA review class offered at the end of your senior year! It will definitely help prepare you for that 4 hour test. Most importantly, start networking by becoming a member of AHIMA, AAPC, and other local chapters of credentialing bodies.”

Even though Teague is not that far removed from graduation, she has given back to the program by being a preceptor.

“I would love to do it again because I appreciate the time that my preceptors gave to me which allowed me to connect my institutional knowledge with my practical knowledge,” said Teague. “It truly helps to take what you learned and apply it.”