CHIA Delegates to 2016 AHIMA at Work

Updates from the AHIMA House of Delegates at the 88th Convention in Baltimore, Maryland on October 16, 2016 are now available from CHIA Delegates to AHIMA. The theme for the convention was “Inspire Big Thinking to Launch Our Future”.

The AHIMA House of Delegates included five breakout sessions on the following topics:

  1. The HIM Re-imagined initiative
  2. The Multigenerational Workforce
  3. Patient-Generated Health Data
  4. Communication in the HOD
  5. Regulatory Impact on the Profession

Other information presented from the AHIMA House of Delegates included

  • 2017 AHIMA strategic goals and objectives with updated Mission, Vision and Values can be viewed
  • New AHIMA Membership Model – Information about the new AHIMA membership model was also announced via AHIMA email communication on October 24; to be launched in December.

The CHIA Delegates to AHIMA participated in the sessions bringing forth any comments that the CHIA membership shared with them prior to convention. A summary of the key points from the breakout sessions are provided by CHIA Delegates Deborah Collier, Brian Faust, Jon Stuart, Diana McWaid, and Janet Robertson.


1. The HIM Re-imagined initiative
Reported by: Janet Roberston, RHIA

There was discussion regarding the HIMR White Paper. The HIM Reimagined White Paper was developed as a result of workforce research in the HIM industry. The data shows that current HIM job functions will change drastically within the next 10 - 20 years. This is already happening in many areas. The delegates in attendance from the HIM Industry confirmed that jobs are changing and the needs for the workforce will look very different in the future.

Some areas that received much discussion include:

  1. The transition of the RHIT credential to the RHIT+ credential. This means that the Associate Degree Programs will offer specialty degrees that will allow students to select a specific area of learning. The HIT curriculum at the Associate Degree level has no capacity for the ever increasing required content. The concept is to have a core curriculum included in each specialty degree.
  • The need to maintain the core RHIT generalist in rural areas was discussed. Members of the development team suggested a specialty for rural areas that would be similar to the current RHIT generalist credential.
  • Educational institutions will need to survey their community to determine workforce needs in order to offer specialty tracks that will be marketable for graduates. There was discussion about the challenge of online programs defining their “community”. This could present opportunities to create relationships between Educational institutions.
  • HIT Associate Degree faculty explained that it may not be realistic for a student beginning the program to know what their interests are and selecting a specialty could be challenging. It was suggested that the specialty option be offered at the Bachelor Degree level after a student has been exposed to a broad range of HIT topics at the Associate Degree level. One advantage of the current HIT degree is the endless possibilities of the degree. There was also concern about the cost to run a program with so many different specialty degrees and the branding of the RHIT credential. One suggestion is to offer minor degrees in the specialty areas.
  1. Another topic in the White Paper is the proviso that RHIT credential holders with a Bachelor Degree be allowed to sit for the RHIA. This is still under review and details have not been determined. The development team will be working on this area of HIMR over the next year.

  2. The role of the House of Delegates (HoD) in relationship to the HIMR White Paper was discussed. It was suggested that the HoD be allowed to vote. Currently, this topic is purely informational.

  3. Next steps will be determined by the Speaker of the House. The consensus is that efforts must be made to assure that all HIM professionals understand HIM Reimagined and that those interested individuals are given the opportunity to be involved.


2. The Multigenerational Workforce
Reported by Diana McWaid, MS, RHIA, CDIP, CCS, CPC, CRC

This breakout session was about how to ensure understanding of what opportunities are emerging and how HIM activities will be performed; brainstorm what the House of Delegates can bring to these different generations as a profession that is relevant to all.

The generational groups were identified: Matures (born Before 1945); Bab Boomers (1946-1964); Gen Xers (1965-1980); Millennials (1981-1996) Gen Z (1997-Present). Some recommendations were:

  • Offer more Mentorships, Apprenticeships, and Coaching
  • How to provide or enhance better communication between generations
  • Define the career path or career map for the various current and new roles
  • Find methods or activities to increase passion for profession across all generations

3. Patient-Generated Health Data
Reported by Jon Stuart, RHIA, CRCR

The goals of the Patient Generated Health Data breakout session were two-fold: To gain an understanding of how to ensure accuracy of information is being utilized in the health record; and Identify opportunities to ensure the security of mobile applications from an HIM perspective. Recommendations made to the delegates consisted of:

  • Ensuring the accuracy, integrity and standardizing of patent generated health data
  • Integrating the legal health record and patient generated health data
  • Consideration be given to provider liability
  • Aligning technology
  • Educating patients

4. Communication in the HOD
Reported by Brian Faust RHIA

The Communication Breakout Session of the 2016 AHIMA House of Delegates was charged with identifying opportunities to ensure optimum communication and engagement for HoD activities and maintaining a bi-directional flow of communication between the Delegates and the Speaker of the House.

The Communication Breakout Session was assigned the specific task this year of considering a proposal by the Tennessee Health Information Association to elect “Regional Delegate Leaders (RDLs)” corresponding to the eleven AHMIA Board of Directors state liaison groupings. It was envisioned that each RDL would report on a core set of issues to the House Speaker quarterly. The purpose of this reporting structure would be to identify common regional trends and to report on them to the Speaker. The proposal envisioned “unrestrained and frequent” communication between the RDLs and the Speaker via email, conference calls and the Engage Community.

Following a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of elected Regional Delegate Leaders, the Communication Breakout Session opted not to recommend the adoption of a RDL structure. The Communication group instead recommended that a HoD issues “dashboard” be created to identify, track and communicate to all delegates on an ongoing basis the status of important HoD issues.


5. Regulatory Impact on the Profession
Reported by Deborah Collier, RHIA

This breakout session was about how to overcome the challenges that create opportunities for HIM profession in the advance advocacy efforts for AHIMA and the profession and at the national, state and local levels. The group focused on the regulatory forces that impose changes and affect the HIM profession. The advantages and effective advocacy strategies were discussed.
Some of the regulatory items impact on the HIM profession were:

  • Application Program Interface (API) mandate for requirements for 2018. By 2019, an application for patients to access data will be required.
  • Office of Civil Rights (OCR) – building infrastructure for the architecture for the patient apps
  • Office of National Coordinator (ONC) has contacted AHIMA about defining the legal health record.
  • ONC – Electronic Health Record (EHR) certification
  • Unique Patient identifier
  • Patient access – s. 2511 – Improving Health Information Technology Act
  • Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA)
  • 42 CFR Mental Health - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration proposed regulations facilitate information exchange within the new health care models while addressing the privacy concerns of patients seeking treatment for a substance use.

Some recommendations to increase membership involvement with advocacy efforts on items that impact the HIM Profession:

  • Provide clear, concise communication using combination of social media, talking points, a “script” for an example; hyperlink to the tools that are needed, podcasts
  • Invite state legislators to state meetings for opportunity to engage, discuss, advocate
  • Implement and participate in a state Hill Day to meet with legislators.
  • Collaborate with other associations and health related organizations with common advocacy efforts.