AUDIO: HIM Must Adapt or Become Irrelevant

Richard Averill discusses the need for HIM to digitally adapt.

Many health information management professionals need to increase their data analytic skills in order to stay relevant at their facility, according to Richard Averill, senior vice president of clinical and economic research at 3M Health Information Systems.

Averill, a principal researcher for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who helped create the DRG system, explains in this audio interview that as the healthcare industry moves to digital data, HIM professionals must move with it.

Steps must be taken to move HIM to a “real health information manager… who is the go-to person in the institution for manipulating that information and producing reports, interpreting the reports,” Averill says.

The profession is currently leaving a data analytic void in healthcare facilities that they should be preparing to fill. “HIM needs to move from the keeper of the information to the user, or at least the conduit for the user of the information,” Averill says.

This interview, recorded with Journal of AHIMA Editor-in-Chief Chris Dimick during the 84th AHIMA Convention and Exhibit in October, is the second of a four part series that will appear on this site each week in December.


  1. I agree with Mr. Averill’s statements, but I would like more actual examples of how this can realistically be done when (many) HIM Departments may not have adequate staff or adequate staff with the skill sets! Also, how would HIM professionals go about preparing for this roll (from keeper to user)? Please give real life examples that professionals can do now!
    F. Whitworth

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  2. Certainly, the competencies that we must have our students attain as prescribed by CAHIIM direct us toward this ever increasing body of knowledge for our RHIT and RHIA students. Our goal should also be to make sure that as professionals each of us seek positions/roles that allow us to utilize fully this body of knowledge!

    Don’t know what this body of knowledge is? Go to:

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  3. I’m ready to adapt but reality is diferent. I’m currently a coder (CCA) and going to school to sit for the RHIT. What I’m noticing is that the RHIT’s are irrevelant to the HIM Department and the other related department look for for more HIS expertise. There’s a gap and the RHIT’s are caught in it.

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  4. • ICD-10-CM delay until October 2015
    • Lack of PPE sites for HIT degree students
    I need to speak to students regarding the delay; what should they be doing to prepare?
    also our local hospital does not want HIT (RHIT) students to mentor or to hire without experience…what are other facilities they may recieve help?
    thanks much,

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