Definition

American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)

Contributor(s): Tayla Holman

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is a professional organization that promotes the business and clinical uses of electronic and paper-based medical information.

The group provides health information professionals with resources and training to improve their skills.

AHIMA also supports health informatics and data analytics, both of which tie heavily into health IT matters. Additionally, the group weighs in on related government policies.

History of AHIMA

The American College of Surgeons established the Association of Record Librarians of North America in 1928, with the initial goal of improving the standards of clinical records in healthcare organizations.

Ten years later, the association changed its name to the American Association of Medical Record Librarians to represent its membership more succinctly. In 1970, the association changed its name to the American Medical Record Association at a time when medical record professionals had become more involved in hospitals and other healthcare organizations.

The association adopted its current name in 1991.

AHIMA membership

AHIMA currently has more than 103,000 members and 52 affiliated component state associations.

There are seven AHIMA membership categories: New to AHIMA, Active, Active Premier, Student, New Graduate, Global/Outside of the United States and Emeritus. There are also group memberships available for students and organizations.

Education and AHIMA certification

AHIMA provides members with various education courses, such as training about ICD-10, privacy and security, and clinical documentation improvement. The AHIMA Virtual Lab allows students to access and experience software such as electronic health records and the master patient index, as well as corresponding lab lessons.

In addition, AHIMA also provides several certifications and certification exam preparation.

AHIMA's health information management certifications include registered health information administrator and registered health information technician. Coding certifications include certified coding associate, certified coding specialist and certified coding specialist -- physician-based.

AHIMA's specialty certifications include certified health data analyst, certified in healthcare privacy and security, certified documentation improvement practitioner, certified healthcare technology specialist and certified professional in health informatics.

AHIMA Foundation

The AHIMA Foundation is the charitable affiliate of AHIMA and was established in 1962.

The foundation initially focused on providing loans to health information management (HIM) students and obtaining books for the AHIMA library. Since then, the AHIMA Foundation has expanded to provide HIM professionals with research resources and workforce development programs.

The foundation also provides scholarships to students pursuing a degree in HIM and health information administration.

AHIMA Code of Ethics and AHDI

The AHIMA Code of Ethics states that health information professionals have an obligation to safeguard health information and prevent misuse. The code also states that HIM professionals should act as mentors for students and new colleagues by helping them develop and strengthen their skills. 

Meanwhile, the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) is a sister organization of AHIMA. The association was founded in 1978 as part of an effort to achieve recognition for the medical transcription profession.

AHDI initially focused on providing education to medical professionals about what medical transcription entails and how it affects the quality of medical care. AHDI continues to promote professional excellence in healthcare documentation practices and policies.

This was last updated in March 2017

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