Friday, July 20, 2018

The Future of AHIMA and the HIM Profession

by Lauren Manson, RHIA – Executive Director, OHIMA

Each July, leaders from the component state associations gather in Chicago for the AHIMA Leadership Symposium.  This year, I accompanied several of OHIMA’s new Board Members to the event.  On the first day of the conference, AHIMA Board President Diann Smith and new AHIMA CEO Dr. Wylecia Wiggs Harris spoke about the future of AHIMA.  I was impressed by their transparency and candor.

Dr. Harris referenced the Business Lifecycle of an organization and showed the audience this graphic:

Then, she asked the audience to think about the last few years and assess where WE thought AHIMA was in this cycle.  Everyone looked around hesitantly – wondering if others were going to be honest or optimistic in this roomful of 200 people.

First, Dr. Harris and Diann asked if we thought AHIMA was in the “Innovation Cycle.”  No one raised their hand.

Second, they asked if the audience felt that AHIMA was at the “Mature” peak of the cycle.  A few people raised their hand.

Finally, they got to “Decline.”  95% of the audience raised their hand. 

There was utter silence in the room for a moment as everyone glanced around and then let out a sigh of relief that others felt the same way they did.  And then, we all felt a little MORE assurance when Dr. Harris said that in their strategic conversations over the past several months, the AHIMA Board of Directors admitted the same – that AHIMA was in decline. 

And while some might find it discouraging to hear that so many HIM professionals – especially those who are leaders in the HIM profession, in their states and even members of the national board – felt this about AHIMA, our national association; we felt anything but discouraged as we listened to Dr. Harris talk about future plans for AHIMA.  It was truly inspiring.  It gave us all hope. 

The National Board of Directors, under the guidance of Diann Smith and Dr. Harris, are working diligently to define a better future and ensure that AHIMA enters the “Renew” part of the business lifecycle within the next 3 years.  And then ensure that the association and profession remain indefinitely in the “Innovation Cycle.”

They will be making some tough decisions.  Dr. Harris states that “HIM cannot be all things to all people. But the beauty of having a new leader is that [she] can offer a fresh perspective and critical eye to all things.”   She promised a “hard reset” on strategies to align them with resources and is in the process of implementing a team-based approach to embrace the possibilities of the future.  “We are at a crossroads.  And we can move forward as leaders.  Or another organization will.”

I don’t know about you, but I am excited to see what the future holds for AHIMA and the HIM profession!   Under the guidance of Dr. Harris, I am confident that it will involve great things.  And I hope that you will challenge yourself to be a part of this exciting future for HIM.  Be a catalyst for change.  Be a voice for the HIM profession! 

As always, feel free to reach out to me in the OHIMA Central Office at or 614-795-7514.

Lauren Manson, RHIA

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