Aligning AHIMA’s Mission and Vision with its Advocacy Agenda

Aligning AHIMA’s Mission and Vision with its Advocacy Agenda

By Lauren Riplinger, JD

Throughout 2019, AHIMA devoted considerable attention and time to the new mission and vision that will guide the organization into 2020 and beyond. How do we get from AHIMA’s new mission and vision to AHIMA’s advocacy priorities for 2020?

AHIMA’s vision, “a world where trusted information transforms health and healthcare by connecting people, systems, and ideas,” describes the ideal state that the organization wishes to achieve. When AHIMA thinks about which public policy initiatives to support, it focuses efforts on legislation and regulations that help build a world where trusted information transforms health and healthcare by connecting people, systems, and ideas.

To help advance AHIMA’s strategy, three impact areas have been identified: Integrity, Connection, and Access. Just as AHIMA has prioritized these three particular areas to advance our mission in significant ways, AHIMA’s 2020 advocacy agenda flows directly from these impact areas.

AHIMA’s advocacy efforts related to integrity, will focus on:

  • Advancing the quality of healthcare data by influencing the development and maintenance of national and international medical coding standards.
  • Influencing and advancing standards-based documentation and documentation integrity best practices to generate reliable and trusted information.

The second impact area, connection, will focus on:

  • Repealing the existing ban on the use of federal funds to promulgate or adopt a unique patient identifier to enable the US Department of Health and Human Services to identify a national strategy to address patient identification.
  • Championing a common set of data standards (including for application programming interfaces) and related infrastructure to ensure semantic, technical, and functional interoperability across the healthcare ecosystem.
  • Enhancing and influencing efforts to improve the use of new approaches to better integrate clinical and administrative data through data standardization, standardized templates, improvements in technology, and electronic transmission of information.

Finally, for the impact area, access, AHIMA will focus on:

  • Enhancing consumers’ electronic, timely, and seamless access to their health information.
  • Protecting consumers by addressing existing privacy and security gaps in the protection of health information held by HIPAA non-covered entities.
  • Advancing health information–sharing policies by aligning the 42 CFR Part 2 regulations, which governs confidentiality and sharing of substance use disorder treatment records, with HIPAA, allowing for the appropriate sharing of substance use disorder treatment records for purposes of treatment, payment, and healthcare operations.
  • Enhancing and improving information-sharing of cyberthreats, risks, and cyberhygiene practices in real time.

Throughout the year, AHIMA’s policy and government affairs team will provide opportunities for members to be active participants in advancing our advocacy agenda. The team encourages members to participate when these opportunities arise. Advocacy efforts cannot be successful without the voices of AHIMA members.

 

Lauren Riplinger (lauen.riplinger@ahima.org) is vice president, policy and government affairs, at AHIMA.

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