Discussing AHIMA’s Vision for Transformation and the Future of HIM in Analytics and Informatics

Discussing AHIMA’s Vision for Transformation and the Future of HIM in Analytics and Informatics

This monthly blog highlights and discuss emerging trends and challenges related to healthcare data and its ever-changing life cycle.

By Stephanie Crabb, MA


AHIMA hosted its 2018 Data Institute on December 6-7, 2018, welcoming analytics and informatics professionals and a expert faculty from around the country. While the faculty offered unique and compelling insights and experiences on many topics central to data and analytics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, ransomware, digital health, quality, population health, and more, what was most compelling to me were the questions asked and the conversations held during the networking breaks. Attendees were comparing notes on their roles, their scopes of work and responsibility, and their professional journeys that led them to the roles they now have.

From where I sit, the most important takeaway of the conference is this: health information management (HIM) professionals are working at the nexus of the analytics and informatics fields and are contributing great value to their organizations through their work. Most of them started their careers in the “sweet spots” of HIM: coding, records management, and, more recently, clinical documentation improvement. Most of them were asked to serve on work groups or task forces focused on broader initiatives where their HIM backgrounds were considered valuable to the work. For many, this sparked greater curiosities that brought them closer to the disciplines of analytics and informatics. And they “leaned in” when new opportunities arose, even when it was a little uncomfortable and they were not sure that their skill sets were a perfect match. The rest, as many of them shared, is history.

But what impressed me most is that all of them are so very passionate and committed to their HIM roots and the skills and expertise that they acquired while performing core HIM functions. They all believe that they are better at their current analytics and informatics roles BECAUSE their foundations are in HIM. Further, attendees believe there even more opportunities for their fellow HIM colleagues to contribute to healthcare’s new data and information economy, but they have to be willing to commit to growing their skills.

As AHIMA executes its Vision for Transformation, it has outlined two incremental “pivots” as follows:

  • Short-term: Focus on current strengths while exploring growth opportunities to lead AHIMA toward renewal in 2019 (Pivot 1)
  • Long-term: Lay the foundation for innovation and greater impact within the healthcare ecosystem by 2022 (Pivot 2)

While Pivot 1 has led AHIMA to sunset the data analytics service/product line “in its current form,” AHIMA’s communications to both its membership and the industry suggest that AHIMA believes strongly that HIM professionals have a role to play and contributions to make in this arena. The disciplines of analytics and informatics are critical elements of the health information management continuum, after all.

A focus group conducted at the Data Institute sought input from Data Institute attendees to inform AHIMA’s Vision for Transformation, specifically as it relates to analytics and informatics. I was impressed by the candid dialogue in the room, the competence and creativity of those present, and the tactical ideas offered to advance AHIMA’s thinking at this critical time.

If you are an HIM professional currently working in an analytics or informatics role, please lend your voice to this important conversation being had in AHIMA at this time. Your stories, your journey, your needs, and, most importantly, your aspirations are so very important as AHIMA strives to connect the strengths of its history with its legacy and future.

Please contact Melanie Endicott, MBA/HCM, RHIA, CDIP, CHDA, CPHI, CCS, CCS-P, FAHIMA, vice president of HIM practice excellence at AHIMA at melanie.endicott@ahima.org to learn more and contribute your ideas.


Stephanie Crabb (sacrabb@immersive.healthcare) is principal at Immersive.

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