AHIMA20 House of Delegates Report

Two tools to raise the profile and increase the influence of AHIMA members were calls to action during Saturday’s AHIMA House of Delegates meeting.

AHIMA practice director Julie Pursley, MSHI, RHIA, CHDA, FAHIMA, and Keisha Tolbert, MAM, RHIA, CHPS, discussed AHIMA’s new Patient Matching Naming Policy Pledge. AHIMA has created a naming policy that, when adopted, will help bridge the gap in patient mismatches and promote better interoperability and sharing of health data. Health information professionals are asked to pledge to advocate and educate members and other key stakeholders on the importance of naming policies in our healthcare organizations. Individuals can sign the pledge here.

If there was ever a time to do this pledge, the time is now, Pursley and Tolbert said. “We represent such a vast amount of health information professionals, and we are the obvious ones to take charge (of this issue),” Tolbert said. “We have the connection with so many people who can help us and make a difference. We can’t wait for the laws to change, but we have to take charge in our own organizations.”

A webinar about the pledge will take place in November.

Additionally, AHIMA vice president of marketing and communications Jackie Bonyko discussed the Professional Enhancement Campaign (PEC), a set of tools designed to help members be champions and spokespeople for the profession. “The campaign works to solve the identity crisis of a complex profession, and it shows your value as an AHIMA-credentialed professional,” Bonyko said. “(When you use the tools), you will think about the words you use and have a new attitude for yourself and your colleagues. We are truly elevating the profession.”

A new repository of resources for members, “PEC Professional Brand Resources,” will be added to the myAHIMA section of ahima.org, said Bonyko.

Also on Saturday, AHIMA president Ginna Evans, MBA, RHIA, CPC, CRC, FAHIMA, board member Jennifer Mueller, MBA, RHIA, FACHE, FAHIMA, and CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE, discussed the state of AHIMA. Harris touched on the themes of community and hope, as well as AHIMA’s enduring statement of purpose: “The primary purpose of AHIMA as a member association is to commit to excellence in the management of health information for the benefit of patients and providers.” Harris said she realized this year during the global pandemic that “Because health information is everywhere, we need to be everywhere. I’ve expanded my thinking around how we best function as a global network community. A new community began to emerge in my thinking.”

This idea of community led to this week’s introduction of Access, an online community platform that will feature many dynamic communities and give members access to a larger health IT community.  Harris said she realized that she personally benefitted from communities that are “uplifting, that fed my spirit, provided me access to new contacts and information. That’s what I want for AHIMA, because that’s what we deserve.” More information will be available about Access after the conference.

Delegates also acted as thought leaders in breakout “pathfinder” sessions where they discussed topics such as data governance, patient identification, health equity, public health, revenue cycle, ethics, and telehealth. Their feedback will be used to identify future opportunities for AHIMA and its members.

The delegates also voted on six action items. A full report of the meeting, including the pathfinder discussions and the action item votes, is available on the Engage community.