By Liz Curtis, MA, RHIA, CHPS
It was a pleasure participating as one of your delegates in the AHIMA 2021 Virtual House of Delegates. In total, over 255 of us gathered on Sunday, September 19th to exchange ideas, receive updates, and provide our input on topics important to our members.
We received an update from AHIMA President Katherine Lusk, and an update from CEO Dr. Wylecia Wiggs Harris. Ms. Lusk highlighted accomplishments of AHIMA over the last year, including standardizing naming conventions such as Health Information Exchange; investing in professional development by partnering to deliver digital leadership courses and launching AHIMA’s gHealth collaboration to impact health on a global scale; and advocating to elevate health on political agendas by participating in the G20 Health and Development Partnership. Other accomplishments include leading the effort to protect and secure data with AHIMA’s dHealth security assessment for health applications; focusing on how healthcare systems use technology to deliver integrity and compliance; presenting the health information perspective at industry events including Project US@ with ONC and the Health Sector Coordinating Council’s Joint Cybersecurity Working Group; and developing operational recommendations regarding the definition of electronic health information with HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association and AMIA. Additionally, she highlighted the work AHIMA has done to inform our stakeholders of multi-market trends including consumer-centered care, value-based care and reimbursement, and big data; claiming our stake in other sectors including outcomes data, learning methods, social equity and demographic changes; and evolving our core work by being more agile, resilient, developing partnerships, and addressing the needs of a remote workforce. She stressed that we keep the health ecosystem connected.
Dr. Wiggs Harris talked about the importance of moving the profession forward to a place of renewal and innovation, and connecting AHIMA’s work to our “why” in the strategic focus areas of Policy and Thought Leadership, Shaping the Profession, and Transformation and Growth. AHIMA will support professional development by advocating and advancing creation and use of trusted information, equipping professionals and students to meet health industry needs, and driving strategic transformation and renewed growth of the association. It was exciting to hear about all the great things AHIMA is doing!
We also received a finance report. Revenues were down last year by 15% in the midst of the pandemic, but there was strong membership renewal – AHIMA has over 78,000 members! AHIMA adjusted business operations and decreased expenses by 20%, and AHIMA finished the year with a surplus of $5.5 million including an additional gain of 10% in investment income this past year.
There are many volunteer opportunities with AHIMA. I have reached out to AHIMA myself in the past, and was appointed to several committees and work groups as a result. Ms. Lusk encouraged us to volunteer and to get the word out to our members about these opportunities. She asked that any member interested in volunteering contact her at Katherine.Lusk@AHIMAboard.org It is a wonderfully rewarding experience – a great way to meet others in the field, to advocate, to contribute, and to learn and grow as a health information professional.
Liz Curtis, MA, RHIA, CHPS is a current Delegate on the OHIMA FY 2021-2022 Board of Directors. Liz is a Lecturer in the HIMS Program at The Ohio State University.