AHIMA: Why Standards Matter

Since its founding in 1928, AHIMA has been actively engaged in standards development and advancement.

Toothbrushes, pasta, wine, hockey masks, and medical devices are all associated with one or more International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards. Standards ensure that the composite material used in toothbrushes is safe to put in your mouth, and that perfect al dentè pasta emerges after 7-9 minutes, no matter what kind of stove you cook it on or pot you cook it in.

Toothbrushes and pasta may not sound like overly serious topics, but how about the privacy and accuracy of personal health information, or how a health provider maintains confidentiality while also providing necessary access to critical data? These are difficult challenges, and as new healthcare technologies are rolled out, new challenges are constantly emerging. Along with public policy, thoughtful, well-constructed standards are part of the solution.


ISO is a global federation of national standards institutes. As the world’s largest developer and publisher of international standards, it brings together public and private sectors in over 170 countries to create consensus standards that provide business, government, and society with practical tools for economic, environmental, and social development. The United States is represented to ISO by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Standards are developed through the work of more than 260 technical committees. The Health Informatics technical committee, known as TC215, was awarded to ANSI in 1998, and in 2011 ANSI delegated two key roles to AHIMA—secretariat to ISO TC215, and administrator to the United States technical advisory group to ISO/TC215.

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