Get to Know IFHIMA in Brisbane
The International Federation of Health Information Management Associations (IFHIMA) will convene its 20th triennial Congress this year from October 29 through November 1 in Brisbane, Australia. The federation and its national members, including AHIMA, share many common goals, most importantly supporting high-quality health information to improve health and health outcomes.
This live and in-person gathering will be the organization’s first in four years. Like many organizations around the world, the pandemic made safety a top priority.
The pandemic taught many lessons, including how to work and communicate in new ways. During the pandemic, IFHIMA continued its mission to advance health information management (HIM) professionals. The federation held webinars and published papers on the challenges and best practices of working through COVID-19. Throughout the pandemic, IFHIMA focused on developing trends—from privacy of health information to ICD-11 to workforce enablement.
IFHIMA is a non-profit organization affiliated as a non-governmental organization (NGO) with the World Health Organization (WHO). IFHIMA has served as the global umbrella organization of the health information management profession for 55 years. The first International Medical Record Congress was held in London in 1952 with 309 participants.
IFHIMA (formerly IFMRO and IFHRO) became an official organization in 1968. While its mission and vision has evolved over the years, collaboration and mutual respect continue to be the hallmark of its values. The federation’s vision for today and the future is: A healthy world enabled by quality health information.
AHIMA members have a long history of involvement with IFHIMA, and several are truly “IFHIMA Superstars,” including Carol Lewis, MPH, RHIA; Margaret Skurka, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA; and Lorraine Fernandes, RHIA.
Growth & Advancement Despite Challenges
IFHIMA is an all-volunteer organization that attracts exceptional individuals from the world of HIM. These volunteers generously share their knowledge, experience, and time to the webinars, papers, and events produced for membership and the worldwide HIM community.
Some accomplishments during the past three years while working virtually include:
- Release of the 2020 Strategic Plan;
- Production of five new whitepapers and position statements;
- Designed and launched a new website;
- Expansion of social media presence with growth of 100 percent to 300 percent each year;
- Significant growth of membership in associate/individual and corporate categories; and
- Embraced the adoption of ICD-11 through virtual events, podcasts, and papers.
|IFHIMA membership is illustrated through 32 nations represented across five categories: National, Educational Institution, Associate/individual, Corporate, and the newest category, Regional Island Network. Courtesy: IFHIMA
IFHIMA members work in healthcare policy, data, research, education, and care delivery settings around the globe.
IFHIMA and the WHO
IFHIMA and the WHO have had an official relationship for 43 years and committed to working closely with the global body on specific projects in the field of health records and health information.
IFHIMA representatives hold voice and vote on committee/workgroup or leadership positions in the Family of International Classifications (WHO FIC) and its Education and Implementation Committee (EIC), Information and Terminologies Committee, Morbidity Reference Group (MbRG) and Functioning and Disability Reference Group. The purpose of this work as defined by the WHO is to advance “a set of tools for monitoring relevant targets identified within the Sustainable Development Goal 3 healthy lives and wellbeing for individuals of all ages.”
IFHIMA 20th Congress to Explore ‘Advancing Global Health: In Pursuit of High-Quality Digital Information’
Improving health data and health outcomes is a goal shared by health professionals worldwide. IFHIMA continues to move toward this goal by co-hosting the 20th IFHIMA Congress with the 40th HIMAA National Conference from October 29 through November 1 in Brisbane, Australia.
The 20th IFHIMA Congress offers a rare opportunity to engage with peers from around the globe while learning about current and emerging developments in HIM.
Brisbane is a modern city surrounded by many natural wonders. It’s located between the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, making it easy to explore other amazing regions in Queensland. You can even take a short day trip in Brisbane on a river cruise to see the koalas. The weather in Brisbane in October is an average of 78°F and sub-tropical, so bring a swimsuit.
The main reason to attend the 20th IFHIMA Congress is the educational value of the 100-plus speakers, 10-plus keynote and plenary sessions, 12 workshops, and seven concurrent sessions (four topic streams each).
The roster includes international speakers from Australia, India, Kuwait, Nigeria, Spain, United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries.
View the full program here. Topics include:
Health Data Quality & Analytics
ICD-11, Coding & Classification
Improvement & Data Integrity
Privacy & Security
Digital Health/Digital Transformation
Global Workforce Development
Research, Education & Training
ICD-11 … Wait … What?
How different can ICD-11 be from ICD‑10? What is the urgency? Why is ICD-11 such a high priority for IFHIMA?
It comes down to the Federation’s HIM origins and future. Accurate and consistent coding of clinical data is a core foundation in the practice of HIM and essential to improving health and health outcomes.
In the 21st Century, disciplines and technologies such as analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence demand that accurate and timely data be available to meet their full potential in improving health outcomes and reducing costs. This is where ICD-11 comes into play. It’s the first version of ICD specifically designed for the electronic environment, which includes an application program interface (API) that integrates real-time with electronic health records to facilitate data capture at the point of care.
Also, ICD-11 incorporates ever-expanding advances in science and medicine within its massive semantic database, ranging from broad clinical concepts to specific clinical details.
IFHIMA co-sponsored a virtual event promoting ICD-11 in fall 2022 with its Spanish and UK national members. It also co-sponsored a virtual event with Saudi national members with a day dedicated to ICD-11 at SHIMA’s second annual conference in late 2021. IFHIMA has produced an extensive whitepaper, a position paper, an ICD-11 infographic, and podcasts on this topic.
IFHIMA’s General Assembly & Inaugural Tribute to Excellence
Individuals serving on the IFHIMA Board of Directors are elected to three-year terms, which begin after the General Assembly. It is traditionally held in conjunction with the triennial IFHIMA Congress. However, it was conducted virtually in November 2022.
During the Virtual General Assembly (VGA), Vicki Bennett, CHIM, FAIDH, CHIA (AU), was named IFHIMA’s president, with Lorraine Fernandes, RHIA, from the USA ending her term. Former Regional Director for the Americas, Deneice Marshall, MS, Dipl.Ed, RHIA, was named president-elect, and AHIMA’s National Director, Lynette Czarkowski, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA, was named Regional Director for the Americas. Board roles for the term 2022-2025 can be found here.
Also, during the VGA, IFHIMA awarded the inaugural “Tribute to Excellence” to Skurka for her illustrious career in service to IFHIMA, the WHO, and advancing global data quality. She participated on the IFHIMA Board for 12 years, and for over 10 years she was the IFHIMA representative to the WHO’s FIC, EIC, and MbRG.
Engage with IFHIMA
IFHIMA engagement can take many avenues, such as:
- Joining any of the five membership categories and enjoying the benefits of first access to new materials, as well as volunteer opportunities in committees and workgroups;
- Attending one of the triennial Congresses, and IFHIMA members receive a substantial discount;
- Contributing articles to Global News, a three-times-a-year newsletter; and
- Engaging with global colleagues in upcoming communities of practice.
Improving health and health outcomes is a worldwide priority, given the global society. We don’t have to look beyond the pandemic and everything that unfolded to see the truth in that statement.
In conclusion, health information professionals are invited to engage with IFHIMA and be a part of the global, digital world that is advancing the practice of health information management at an international level. Find a membership category here and join IFHIMA.
Lynette Czarkowski, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA, is IFHIMA Americas Regional Director and chief operating officer and executive consultant for e4 Services in Chicago, Illinois.
Sharon Campbell, HIM, MHM, CHIM, is IFHIMA Western Pacific Regional Director and clinical documentation specialist and quality officer for Bethesda Healthcare in Perth, Australia.
Marci MacDonald, CHIM, is IFHIMA Membership Chair and Past President and is based in Toronto, Canada.
By Lynette Czarkowski, MS, RHIA, FAHIMA, Sharon Campbell, HIM, MHM, CHIM, and Marci MacDonald, CHIM