2016 Convention: AHIMA Launches International Arm to Expand Services

In the last year, AHIMA has been laying the groundwork to enhance its international presence. Among its goals is to build an international workforce that has the skills to transform healthcare. Several related events are spotlighted this week during convention.

multicolor-world-mapLast week at the International Federation of Health Information Management Associations (IFHIMA) World Congress in Tokyo, AHIMA announced the launch of the AHIMA World Congress (AWC). The AWC will serve as the international arm of AHIMA and will continue its work to support trusted information around the world. An announcement was also made on Sunday to the AHIMA House of Delegates.

“Our aim is to build membership in AHIMA, promote AHIMA’s gold-standard certifications, and provide professional development training in areas like CDI and other HIM practice standards,” said Alexandre Bouché, managing director of global business development at AHIMA. “We also hope to create AHIMA chapters outside the US, which will be different from our state associations. We consider this an opportunity to capitalize on the great interest in AHIMA in other countries and to grow AHIMA outside the boundaries of the US.”

This week, AHIMA will host a VIP International Reception on Monday from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Hilton Baltimore, which will include an update about AHIMA’s international activities. In addition, an international track will take place Tuesday (see sidebar).

AHIMA Executive Vice President/Chief Innovation and Global Services Officer Deborah Green, RHIA, MBA, said that there is an international demand for AHIMA’s products and services because healthcare is transforming, not just across the nation, but across the world. “You have to have complete, precise, specific and accurate documentation regardless of the coding system you’re using,” she said. “We need people with the right skill sets to put everything in place” to create interoperable health information systems.

To encourage the adoption of HIM best practices, AHIMA has developed and is scheduled to deliver its first exam preparation workshops outside the US this year. Six workshops in total will be delivered in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in October, November, and December, with more to follow in 2017.

These workshops are the first to be available to the public internationally, Bouché said. “Anybody can sign up and get prepared,” he said. The exams are also available in those regions.

AHIMA also has been presenting on topics such as information governance, ICD-10, clinical documentation improvement, analytics, and evolving and emerging workforce roles in health information at conferences around the world, including IFHIMA, E-Health Week in Dubai and Singapore, the IHE World Summit in Amsterdam, the 6th HIM Congress in Abu Dhabi, and the annual convention of the Health Information Management Association of Australia.

The presentations have defined how roles are emerging and changing and describe how to succeed in areas such as information governance. “We have been doing a lot of speaking and presentations on topics that are transformational,” Green said.

Additionally, “we intentionally go where we can support and reach our members—where we can make the biggest impact,” Bouché said. AHIMA has more than 2,000 members, certified professionals, and clients outside the US in 66 countries.

More information about AHIMA’s international efforts, including a list of upcoming events, can be found at www.ahima.org/international-resources.

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