Conference Highlights HIM Innovation Opportunities

A paradigm shift in the form of electronic health records has rocked the health information management (HIM) profession, opening up vast opportunity for innovation in HIM processes and products.

To acknowledge and foster HIM innovation, the AHIMA Foundation will hold its first Health Information Innovation Leadership Conference October 2-3 during the 84th AHIMA Convention and Exhibit in Chicago, IL.

The conference, HI2, will bring together academic, corporate, and government innovators to introduce new concepts and technologies working to transform HIM in the midst of the blossoming electronic age.

HI2 is a conference within a convention, featuring two half days of presentations, demonstrations, and dialog centered on the cutting edge of HIM and healthcare, according to William Rudman, PhD, RHIA, executive director of the AHIMA Foundation.

“I think the most important aspect of the innovation conference will be expanding the concept of what the health information management profession does beyond the current primary care work,” Rudman said. “We are bringing together people who would traditionally not come to AHIMA’s convention; entrepreneurs, individuals who are interested in expanding technology in order to meet the needs of healthcare to deliver better care, higher levels of access, and reduced cost. We are bringing in the thought leaders from various education, workforce, and technology areas across the entire healthcare spectrum.

“We are not limiting the innovation conference to the traditional roles and functions of what would be considered health information management.”

Speakers scheduled for the conference are not your typical AHIMA convention presenters, but rather represent industries breaking into and changing the HIM marketplace.

Representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield and IBM will talk about ways that they are using technology to shape the future of healthcare. And Joseph York, PhD, MBA, the national college dean of health sciences at DeVry University, will speak on new models of education that promote moving second-career individuals into the HIM workforce.

As healthcare has shifted from paper to electronic systems, HIM has followed suit. In response, healthcare and HIM occupations have rapidly changed over the past five to 10 years, Rudman said. Various healthcare reform measures and advancements like health information exchanges, accountable care organizations, the patient-centered care movement, and technology like computer-assisted coding have further adapted HIM.

While the HI2 conference is in part meant to educate HIM professionals about innovation in their space, it also aims to show those outside of HIM how the industry has adapted and grown.

“We are moving out of the typical clerical occupations that we have been associated with in the past and into new areas such as data governance, revenue cycle, data analytics, and data integrity,” Rudman said.

The innovation conference will highlight the electronic HIM paradigm shift, highlighting how the HIM workforce is changing, how education is changing, and how the profession as a whole is changing, Rudman said.

“It is not that coding or the traditional (HIM) roles are forgotten, it is just that as a profession our basic knowledge clusters are now being utilized in different ways then they have in the past,” he said.

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