Monday, November 16, 2020

AHIMA House of Delegates 2020 Meeting; Synopsis on Strategic Pathfinder Session Health Equity

by Tonya Bates, RHIA

On October 17, 2020, AHIMA held its first virtual House of Delegates (HoD) Meeting.  There were just a few technical glitches, but for the most part all went well from that perspective.  The six hour long meeting did however run over by more than an hour.  Dr. Wylecia Wiggs Harris spoke and introduced ACCESS which stands for AHIMA Curated Communities to Enhance Success and Sustainability.  This will replace the current Engage platform.  This will be an avenue where members will go to build their Health Information and Professional networks.  It will be My Digital Health Community (myDHC).  You’ll have the opportunity to be a part of 8-10 groups at a time.  There will be ambassadors for each group.

There was also discussion about the Professional Enhancement Community (PEC).  The theme of PEC is “Health Information is Human Information”.  The goal is to articulate what Health Information Professionals do and develop a structured educational plan. AHIMA has three strategic outcomes that will be the focus.

Strategic Outcome #1  Advance and advocate for the creation and use of trusted information across the evolving health continuum.

Strategic Outcome #2
Shape the health information profession by growing the influence and competitiveness of health information skill sets.

Strategic Outcome #3
Drive strategic transformation and renewed growth as a great partner and place to work.

The remainder of the meeting was spent on discussing and voting on proposed changes to the Bylaws.  The two biggest points of discussion regarding the proposed changes was regarding Article IV, Sections 4.2-4.5 (membership).  The proposal was to change from the current five membership types to Professional and Student with both Emeritus and Honorary still being intact.  This proposal also included late fees for failure to pay membership dues on time.  This section required some clarification as Delegates were confused about the Emeritus status.  The second biggest discussion point was Article VII, Section 7.1 and 7.2.  This was a proposal to change the language of the section to ensure consistency.  Essentially, the proposal was to remove the word Management and change membership types Professional and Student.  There were heated comments regarding the removal of Management.  Delegates were calmed down once it was clarified that the organization is not removing Management from its title.  The proposal is just to remove the word management to be consistent with AHIMA’s purpose. After all discussions, all proposed Bylaws changes were approved. 

I attended the breakout session entitled: “The Role of The HI Professional Shaping Health Equity.” The discussion entailed how we as HI professionals can keep the profession intact. We discussed what barriers currently exist that keep us out stagnated.  The argument from the delegates was that our biggest barrier is HIPAA and its constraints.  There was arguments from both sides. The most compelling argument was that HIPAA has been in our lives for a while now and we’ve learned to adapt.  There is no reason that it should factor into us moving forward as a profession.

In order for the HI professional to ensure that health equity is achieved we must be a part of the educational process of individuals. We must educate the whole person. Educating the whole person means to have the ability to use clinical data as a part the process. Bring to the table how HI professionals can use their clinical knowledge to have a voice at the table with the “C” Suite.

Ultimately, the clinical knowledge we possess gives us an advantage over no HI professionals. This advantage needs to be exploited more. We have to make others know what are skillset is and what we can bring to organizations. To continue the growth of our professional we must train and educate current students afforded them the opportunity to take this profession to new heights. We have to be the stewards to change.

It was an interesting conversation.  We were unable to get through our entire discussion of hypothesis because conversations were a bit intense.

Having attended several HoD meetings in the past, I decided that an in-person meeting is much better. The 2020 AHIMA HoD Meeting was like no other that I have attended.  The fact that it was virtual is what made it so very different than previous years. The virtual  aspect took away from the interaction, networking and camaraderie. Despite, this we were able to accomplish a lot.

About the Author 

Tonya L. Bates, RHIA is the currently Board Past President & Delegate Coordinator on the OHIMA FY 2020-21 Board of Directors. She is Compliance Manager at Enjoin. She can be reached at