South Florida Hospital News
Thursday October 18, 2018
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August 2011 - Volume 8 - Issue 2

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AHIMA Addresses Demands of New Healthcare Information Market

Health information management and the exchange of health information are often cited as a primary means to both improve access to healthcare and to reduce healthcare expenditures. Focusing on protection of consumers’ private health information, initiating compliance activities to ensure data integrity and reduce healthcare fraud, and effectively using patient information to improve health outcomes, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is recognized as the industry leader in both the management and exchange of information. Founded in 1928 to improve the quality of medical records, AHIMA is committed to advancing the HIM profession in an increasingly electronic and global environment through leadership in advocacy, education, research and certification.
 
Health Information management (HIM) professionals, credentialed and certified as Registered Health Information Administrators and Technicians, Coding Specialists, Data Analysts and Privacy and Security Officers oversee the full realm of patient information management functions including the collection, analysis, authorized release, protection, and transformation of patient data to meaningful information for research, patient care, safety, and outcomes. Given the 2014 mandate to create a National Health Information Network, the healthcare industry is increasingly under pressure to transition to an electronic health record (EHR) system. HIM professionals play an important role in this transition. AHIMA (a founding organization of the first EHR certification body CCHIT) and HIM professionals identify EHR functionality to secure patient information from inappropriate access, facilitate exchange of information with approved providers of care, and include data integrity protections to detect tampering, alteration or falsification of services provided.
 
It has been predicted that beginning year 2010, the number of additional health information professionals needed will be 10,000 per year as the National Health Information Network is implemented. The U.S. Bureau of Labor predicts that more than 207,000 health information management professionals will be needed by 2018 (1). With over 61,000 active members, 52 component state associations, and more than 400 accredited colleges and universities offering approved HIM programs led by credentialed HIM educators, AHIMA is ready to meet the demands of the new healthcare market.
 
AHIMA is committed to providing a qualified market-ready workforce through several initiatives. Our Center for Adult Experiential Learning (a not-for-profit group collaborating with AHIMA) initiative:
• Provides 25 stipends to underserved students that may result in up to 12 “life experience” college credits at over 1,100 colleges and universities.
• Creates a Workforce Development Fund of stipends, travel expense coverage, and scholarships for HIM professionals who are under-employed or wish to advance their careers.
• Offers a source for educational counseling for HIM professionals.
The Delta initiative provides training for physician office EHR implementation and educational training curricula for universities and colleges in order to sit for ONC certifications.
 
AHIMA is actively involved in addressing the transition to ICD-10, the classification system used to report patient diagnoses and procedures to insurers and capture patient data for research and other studies. As of mid-year, more than 1,200 trainers have been certified by as ICD-10 trainers. AHIMA also has conducted three national ICD-10 Summits and established a comprehensive portfolio of ICD-10 newsletters, role- based training models, practice briefs, articles published in professional journals, webinars, online training courses, and virtual meetings. Many of AHIMA’s ICD-10 materials have been referenced by other organizations and shared with their members.
 
Finally, AHIMA’s Foundation seeks and utilizes donations and grants to further research on data collection standards and the quality of health information captured in an EHR environment and its impact on patient safety and outcomes, need for EHR data standards, and education of clinicians and the public on healthcare fraud and prevention. Additionally, the Foundation grants more than 75 scholarships annually to individuals pursuing health information degrees and advanced health information studies. The AHIMA Foundation has established a Health Information Relief Operation Fund to provide assistance to HIM professionals who live and work in communities that have been devastated by a natural disaster.
 
AHIMA members and affiliated entities work throughout the healthcare industry and in academia, spanning 40 different health information practice settings and 125 position titles, to drive quality patient care through the use of quality data at every point in healthcare delivery.
 
Rose Dunn is AHIMA Interim CEO. For more information, visit www.ahima.org.
 
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