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AHIMA Shares Recommendations on Transforming the HIM Profession

Companies and professions that are reticent or slow to change can lose their way and even become irrelevant.

To evolve and meet the challenges ahead, AHIMA introduced a draft version of HIM Reimagined: Transformation Starts With You at the Assembly on Education/Faculty Development Institute. This report is a blueprint for the way the HIM profession and HIM education must change.

Implementing HIM Reimagined is designed to be a 10-year process with distinct phases to ensure the HIM profession is equipped for academic and professional success. HIM Reimagined expands on AHIMA's previous initiatives, which promoted the acquisition of new skills and advanced degrees to guide HIM into the future.

AHIMA invites all stakeholders to comment on HIM Reimagined. A final version is expected by early 2017.

"HIM Reimagined is designed so that HIM professionals and students can develop the skills needed to show leadership in critical growth areas such as information governance, data analytics, project management, privacy and security, and a range of payment reforms," says AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. "The recommendations build education strategies and pathways for career advancement. During this comment period, we look forward to additional perspectives to help inform the final document."

A team developed HIM Reimagined under the auspices of AHIMA's Council for Excellence in Education, which is a group of elected AHIMA leaders including educators, practitioners, and industry consultants guiding the HIM community through improvements in education at all levels.

The report's recommendations are driven by trends in health care that focus on preventative, predictive, participatory, and personalized medicine reflect the shift to patient-driven health care.

"These trends played a significant role in informing the HIM Reimagined recommendations," says Desla Mancilla, DHA, RHIA, senior director of academic affairs at AHIMA. "Demand keeps increasing for HIM professionals to analyze and apply data instead of simply collecting and processing it. HIM Reimagined empowers HIM professionals to more effectively advocate for patients and recommends ways to increase HIM faculty and build a more dynamic HIM curriculum to better prepare students for employment."

HIM Reimagined makes the following four core recommendations:

• Increase the number of AHIMA members who hold relevant graduate degrees (eg, HIM, Health Informatics, MBA, MD, or MEd) to 20% of total membership within 10 years. AHIMA believes this can be accomplished with more academic scholarships for members seeking higher levels of HIM education, an increased number of faculty qualified to teach HIM and related graduate education, and implementation of graduate level health informatics curriculums.

• Build a mechanism to ensure availability of research that supports health informatics and information management. This includes providing annual competitive research grants to promote health information and information management practices, and offering competitive dissertation scholarships to doctoral candidates conducting research on HIM-related topics.

• Increase specialization across all levels of the HIM academic spectrum. This includes revisions to support specialization with a new curriculum available no later than 2019, a broader HIM core at baccalaureate level, and a condensed core at master's-level health informatics and HIM with specialized opportunities at a program level.

• Have the RHIA credential recognized as the standard for HIM generalist practice and the RHIT (+Specialty) as the technical level of practice. Key steps include transitioning the RHIT credential to a specialty focused associate level over a multiyear, multiphased approach; ensuring clear pathways exist between associate and baccalaureate HIM programs to encourage existing HIM professionals and new entrants to the HIM profession to earn a baccalaureate degree and an RHIA credential; and aligning the certification process with industry and education needs.

Source: AHIMA