House of Delegates Discuss Vision for HIM’s Future

What will the HIM profession look like in the future? And how will the association and the AHIMA House of Delegates evolve along with it? Members of the House of Delegates listened, talked, and thought about all of these questions during its annual meeting on Sunday.

House Speaker Catherine Porto, MPA, RHIA, CHP, FAHIMA, reflected on the many ways delegates had become engaged through AHIMA practice councils and task forces. “Last year I said it would take a village. We’ve accomplished that,” Porto said. “It’s been an energy-packed year.”

AHIMA Board members Ginna Evans, left, and Valerie Watzlaf applaud a presentation at the House of Delegates.

AHIMA President Diann Smith, MS, RHIA, CHP, FAHIMA, discussed the relationship of the AHIMA Board of Directors and House of Delegates and the way these two bodies work to manage the association and the profession, respectively. Smith noted that the topics the delegates discussed in breakouts were springboards to change. “It’s been 72 years that the House has been in existence. Over the years, AHIMA the association has evolved and changed; in 72 years, I know the House has changed,” Smith said. “As you go through your day, I ask that you have a different mindset. Check your personal biases at the door. Go in with a listening ear. …Think about what might really work. It may be something totally different from what you’ve known in the past.”

Smith noted that many of the delegates already understood the core principles of management from their roles at work. “How do you manage a profession? You don’t. You influence and you challenge each other to be better… so that our members have what they need to perform at their very best.”

AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE, described AHIMA’s ongoing “strategy reset.” Harris summarized the work she has been doing with the Board of Directors and staff to build alignment across AHIMA’s strengths and gaps, identify internal roadblocks and external threats, and identify the top strategic priorities that AHIMA will focus on in 2019 and beyond to move toward its envisioned future. The information-gathering process included a survey of component state association presidents on the ways AHIMA currently provides value to its members and the kinds of problems AHIMA should solve in the future. Additional member focus groups discussing customer needs, customer value, and overall feedback will take place through Monday at convention.

“Our desired future state in three years is to be an organization that is in an innovation cycle,” Harris said. “I am a goal-directed individual, I understand the charge that I have been given. We are going to make this pivot.”

House Speaker Catherine Porto leads the day’s discussions.

Past Speaker of the House Susan Parker, MEd, RHIA, FAHIMA, delved into the question of what it means to “govern the profession.” Parker said the requirements for the delegates are to make sure their responsibilities

are clearly defined, understand the strategic plan (currently in development), and establish relevant bylaws. “Is your plate full of meaningful work that improves, influences, and guides the profession?” Parker asked. “You should have a plate full of that.”

Members of the House divided into breakout groups to discuss and make recommendations on the future of the House, environmental scanning, and the “HIM Reimagined” (HIMR) initiative. The AHIMA white paper “HIM Reimagined,” produced by a team of educators and practitioners, envisions a 10-year process with distinct phases to ensure that HIM knowledge, skills, and competencies are updated to prepare the profession for the future. HIMR’s primary goal is advancing the educational level of AHIMA members. AHIMA conducted market research last year to validate the recommendations made in HIMR.

The breakout participants offered input on how to plan for the future of HIM, particularly through education and certification, and reflected on what else needs to be done to ensure the profession remains strong and relevant and to reach the envisioned future.

Recommendations included:

  • Further consideration needs to be given to the RHIT and RHIA credentials in terms of specialization and requirements for various roles
  • Professional Practice Experience (PPE) faces challenges in placing students but provides tremendous value
  • Re-evaluation of AHIMA certification portfolio to determine value
  • “We are all not the same but we are one profession”

Members also voted to approve one action item related to revisions to the House Policy and Procedure Manual. The motion was proposed by the House Leadership Team.

The 2019 Speaker of the House will be Shawn Wells, RHIT, CHDA.

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