Vision 2006 Offers Options for HIM Profession
The American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA) Vision 2006 program gave new life to a dialogue that’s been going on for years in health information management (HIM) circles–how to prepare for the future and expand career opportunities for members of the profession. Introduced in 1996, Vision 2006 provided a blueprint of what HIM practice would look like in the future, in light of changes in the nation’s health care delivery structure and in health care and health information technology. As a part of Vision 2006, AHIMA has begun to develop steps to help members prepare themselves for what’s coming down the pike. In 1997, the AHIMA House of Delegates passed a resolution calling for the development of an Action Plan designed to help members advance.
“The 1997 resolution called for a review and discussion of the issues and the development of the Action Plan, not the making of actual changes. Nothing will happen until we’ve had the chance to listen to our members’ ideas and concerns and factor them into the plan,” AHIMA President Margaret M. Stewart, RRA, said. The Action Plan is the result of extensive discussions at the 1997 House of Delegates meeting, Team Talks and work of the Joint Committee on Education and the AHIMA Board of Directors.
The elements of the Action Plan, or Action Items, are:
1. Encouraging the establishment of an HIM “track” at the baccalaureate level;
2. Encouraging the establishment of master’s level HIM programs and tracks;
3. Requiring an associate’s degree as a prerequisite for taking the accredited record technician (ART) exam (for those entering the field–current ARTs would be exempt);
4. Designing standardized coding curriculum and studying roles for coding professionals in the future;
5. Investigating giving current ARTs with baccalaureate or post-baccalaureate degrees the opportunity to write for the registered record administrator (RRA) exam;
6. Evaluating the names and positioning of current AHIMA credentials;
7. Designing alternative models for maintenance of certification; and
8. Developing criteria and guidelines for advanced standing.
Stewart acknowledged there was some residual confusion about the many options discussed during the 1997 resolution. She explained that “because of the great discussion underway and the time it takes for ideas to take shape as action recommendations, misunderstandings about requirements for those who already have the ART certification have occurred. We want to clear this up immediately. The certification requirements for current ARTs will not change.”
The next step: AHIMA will seek input from professionals throughout the field over the course of this year and next year and make the appropriate refinements to the Action Plan. The January 1998 issue of AHIMA Advantage, a bimonthly newsletter covering Vision 2006 and related issues, contains a detailed summary of the Action Plan and more information on the process.
AHIMA Welcomes President-Elect and Three New Board Members
Claire R. Dixon-Lee, PhD, RRA, on January 1 became the association’s president-elect. Since 1994, Dixon-Lee has served as product marketing manager for Medicus’ Clinical Data Systems, a health information systems software development company of Larkspur, CA-based, QuadraMed Corp. From 1982 to 1994, she was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s HIM program.
Also on January 1, Cathleen A. Barnes, RRA, ART, CCS, began her term as a member of the Board of Directors. Barnes currently is a project manager in Santa Barbara, CA, for The MEDSTAT Group’s Research and Policy division, where she’s led various clinical and data quality projects since 1980.
In addition to her position with The MEDSTAT Group, Barnes has served as an instructor in Santa Barbara City College’s adult education Medical Record Clerk training program since early 1997. Barnes will add to her responsibilities in the fall of this year, when she’ll become an instructor for the college’s Health Information Technology program.
Melanie S. Brodnik, PhD, RRA, also has begun her term as a member of the Board. Dr. Brodnik currently is director of the Health Information Management and Systems division in the School of Allied Medical Professions at The Ohio State University in Columbus. Brodnik has taught at the university since 1973.
Patricia A. Nelson, MEd, ART, has begun her term as well. She currently serves as general manager for Phoenix-based First Credentialing Quality Assurance.
Nelson received her master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Northern Arizona University and her bachelor of arts degree in Management from the University of Phoenix. She received her associate of arts degree in Medical Record Technology from Penn Valley Community College in Kansas City, MO.
ADVANCE for Health Information
Professionals serves the members of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). Each issue features AHIMA News Network, published as a special supplement within ADVANCE to provide timely information on national issues and AHIMA events.