AHIMA Launches Study to Determine the Future of HIM

In an effort to ensure the health information management workforce stays on track and continues to move into the jobs of the near future, AHIMA has launched a research study that aims to determine the education and credentials that will be needed by health informatics and information management professionals (HIIM) 10 to 20 years from now. The association is actively soliciting HIIM participants from all settings to take part in the study and subsequent survey.

The study is being conducted in response to the rapid changes in the HIIM profession, AHIMA officials said, and will help the association meet future needs by providing critical information about the required competencies for future practice. AHIMA’s in-depth study of the future needs of the HIIM profession is being conducted in partnership with The Caviart Group, LLC, an independent research firm.

“The future will hold many new and different opportunities for HIIM professionals, throughout a variety of departments and healthcare settings. We are working to determine what skills and competencies will be required for them to take advantage of those opportunities,” said Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA, chief executive officer at AHIMA. “With that information we will be able to plan our education and credentialing programs to ensure that all HIIM professionals not only stay relevant, but thrive in the future.”

The study will take place throughout the summer, and will include an analysis of the current state of the industry as well as a determination of the forces that will affect the future direction of health informatics and health information management. The study will also identify the most likely scenarios of future HIIM employment and work, and attempt to disseminate the knowledge and skills that these scenarios will require of HIM professionals.

A key focus of the study will be on HIIM competencies. “We know that predicting specific future jobs is a difficult proposition, but by analyzing the forces that will shape those roles we can identify the knowledge and skills that will be needed regardless of what the specific job titles might be,” Thomas Gordon said.

As a part of the study, The Caviart Group will be interviewing HIIM professionals in different environments and levels as well as employers and other stakeholders. A broad survey of the profession will follow those interviews.

“As independent researchers, we approach this study with a blank slate. It is extremely important that we hear from a wide range of HIIM professionals to get the rich understanding and insight we need for this study to be a success,” said Clarence Chaffee, president of The Caviart Group. “It is the willingness of HIIM professionals to share their experience, and their wealth of knowledge of the profession, that will provide a vital piece of the puzzle for determining where the profession is today, and where it will go in the future.”

HIIM professionals, other healthcare professionals, educators, employers and students who are interested in participating in the study should contact execoffice@ahima.org for more information.

Results of the study will be released in the fall, and will be published both on the Journal of AHIMA website as well as on the AHIMA website, www.ahima.org.

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