MGH campus transformation

MGH’s campus transformation continues with major renovation work this winter and spring. Patients and visitors can expect to experience hallway closures and detours around the hospital. Read more here.

Hapiloe Byaruhanga

#IamMGH Black Voices – Meet Hapiloe Byaruhanga

#IamMGH tells the stories of our people. In honour of Black History Month, we’re centring the voices and lived experiences of our Black staff and physicians throughout February. Meet Hapiloe Byaruhanga, Coding Coordinator, Health Records Department at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH).

“In 1993 I moved to Niagara Falls from Lesotho, a small country surrounded by South Africa. I was a science teacher in Lesotho, but found it tough to find a similar job in Ontario.

My first thought was, ‘what will I enjoy doing while using the skills I already have?’ That was when I found a health information management program at Niagara College. I learned how to code, which I really enjoyed. I was so excited when I found out I would be able to pursue a career in coding! I had no clue a job like this existed.

Once I completed the program I started looking around at hospitals in the Niagara region for a coding job. I quickly noticed that there were many graduates and not enough opportunities in my area. I didn’t let this get me down. After doing some research I was able to find a city with more opportunities. I packed up my things and moved to Toronto.

When I got to Toronto I started working full-time as a coder at a hospital downtown. Not long after a colleague there told me that MGH had part-time coding positions available. I wanted to keep working on my skills so I applied and got hired in 2002. After 11 years of coding at MGH, I moved into my current role as a Coding Coordinator.

A typical day as a coder in a hospital involves reviewing patient charts and assigning a code to the reason the patient came in. For example, if someone came in with a headache, I would assign a code from the International Classification of Disease (ICD) to the visit and at the end of the month we send all of this data to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). This data can then be used by the Ontario Government for purposes like informing the public about the number of COVID-19 cases that month, or data surrounding an increase or decrease in chronic diseases like diabetes.

Back in the early 2000s, patient charts were mainly kept on paper, with only some records kept electronically. Now everything is done electronically, which makes the process more efficient. Switching to electronic health records allows for more streamlined coding and quicker access for the clinical team. It also improves the work-life balance for my team as it creates an opportunity for them to work from home.

The sense of community and respect I feel here at MGH is why I’ve been working here for over 20 years. This is a place where people come and stay because they love their work environment and build long-lasting relationships with one another.”

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