The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the premier association of health information management (HIM) professionals worldwide. Serving 52 affiliated component state associations and more than 103,000 health information professionals, it is recognized as the leading source of "HIM knowledge," a respected authority for rigorous professional education and training.
Founded in 1928 to improve health record quality, AHIMA has played a leadership role in the effective management of health data and medical records needed to deliver quality healthcare to the public.
AHIMA is working to advance the implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) by leading key industry initiatives and advocating high and consistent standards. AHIMA members stay one step ahead through AHIMA's accreditation of cutting-edge academic programs and professional development opportunities, including comprehensive continuing education.
AHIMA keeps HIM professionals posted on the healthcare industry through resources to improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Some of AHIMA’s offering include:
In addition to providing resources AHIMA actively advocates for the HIM Profession, serves as a thought leader in the world of HIM and is one of the four cooperating parties responsible for the ICD-10 Coding Guidelines.
AHIMA members affect the quality of patient information and patient care at every touchpoint in the healthcare delivery cycle. Our members perform diverse roles in healthcare and are employed in a variety of work settings, including hospitals, physician offices, ambulatory care facilities, managed care facilities, long-term care facilities, consulting firms, information system vendors, colleges and universities, insurance providers, pharmaceutical companies, rehabilitation centers, and other venues.
Become an AHIMA member now.
AHIMA traces its history back to 1928 when the American College of Surgeons established the Association of Record Librarians of North America (ARLNA) to "elevate the standards of clinical records in hospitals and other medical institutions." This farsighted recognition of the importance of medical record quality to patient care and research underlies the organization today.
Since its formation, the organization known now as AHIMA has undergone several name changes that reflect the evolution of the profession. In 1938 the Association changed its name to the American Association of Medical Record Librarians (AAMRL) for a more succinct representation of the membership. AAMRL moved forward with the creation of standards and regulations that established its members as medical record experts. When the Association became the American Medical Record Association in 1970, medical record professionals had increased their involvement in hospitals, community health centers, and to other health service facilities outside the hospital. They had also begun to play a critical role at their institutions in the administration of federal programs such as Medicare.
As the healthcare industry underwent restructuring and decision-making became increasingly driven by data, the Association changed its name in 1991 to the American Health Information Management Association. Its current name captures the expanded scope of clinical data beyond the single hospital medical record to health information comprising the entire continuum of care.
Learn more about the history of the association and view AHIMA's timeline.
AHIMA is committed to advancing the HIM profession in an increasingly electronic and global environment through leadership in advocacy, education, certification, and lifelong learning. The health industry is evolving quickly, and AHIMA is working to advance the implementation and effective management of electronic health records (EHRs) by leading key industry initiatives and advocating for consistent standards. Needs are evolving from simply translating data, to having instant access to intelligence that can drive clinical and administrative decision-making in real time. AHIMA ensures that HIM professionals are armed with the skills and tools to act as leaders, using quality information to achieve the triple aims of reduced costs, better care, and improved population health.
AHIMA leads the health informatics and information management community to advance professional practice and standards.
AHIMA is working to promote this mission through:
Informatics: Transforming data into Health Intelligence
Leadership: Developing HIM leaders across all healthcare sectors
Information Governance: Being recognized as the health industry experts in information governance
Innovation: Increasing thought leadership and evidence-based HIM research
Public Good: Empowering consumers to optimize their health through management of their personal health information
AHIMA … leading the advancement and ethical use of quality health information to promote health and wellness worldwide
QUALITY: Demonstrated by an abiding commitment to innovation, relevance and continuous improvement in programs, products and services.
INTEGRITY: Demonstrated by openness in decision-making, honesty in communication and activity, and ethical practices that command trust and support collaboration.
RESPECT: Demonstrated by appreciation of the value of differing perspectives, enjoyable experiences, courteous interaction, and celebration of achievements that advance our common cause.
LEADERSHIP- Demonstrated by visionary thinking, decisions responsive to membership and mission, and accountability for actions and outcomes.
This long-term goal reflects AHIMA’s continued focus on its vision of advancing the ethical use of quality health information to promote health and wellness worldwide. As big data and interoperability create both challenges and opportunities, AHIMA and the HIM profession are positioned to take leadership roles in consumer education and data analytics, and create health intelligence that can be used to lower costs and improve patient care.
The healthcare industry will continue to change rapidly over the next 10 years. To ensure that needed information is available and secure, AHIMA and the profession must convene collaborative groups and accomplish three major initiatives:
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AHIMA's Strategic Plan
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Strategic Plan Poster
With this strategic plan, AHIMA reasserts its belief in the necessity of building quality healthcare through quality information. In the modern healthcare delivery system, HIM professionals will become recognized leaders whose work is imperative to clinical and administrative decision-making by healthcare leaders.
AHIMA found itself on the leading edge of a changing industry in 2014. Throughout the tumult, the association stayed focused on its 2014-2017 Strategic Plan and made significant strides in each area. We have taken the industry lead in information governance, updated our HIM Body of Knowledge with new resources on informatics and the use of clinical data for secondary purposes, and continued our dedication to setting proactive practice standards, both domestically and abroad, that will allow the profession to be recognized and promote research, knowledge sharing, and the overall quality of health information. This annual report describes these and many other accomplishments in 2014.
Read AHIMA’s 2014-2017 Strategy
Sharpen your focus on Ethics. Update yourself on the Code of Ethics and 2 sets of Standards. Complete the Ethics Self Assessment and review the Case Studies.
The AHIMA Code of Ethics is intended to serve as a professional ethics guide for AHIMA members and credentialed professionals who are not members. The code provides the ethical obligations of AHIMA members and credentialed non members as well as the 11 ethical principles that are the foundation of AHIMA’s Code of ethics. After reading the code of ethics you should be able to interpret the code of ethics and know how to use it.
The AHIMA Code of Ethics applies to AHIMA members and credentialed HIM professionals who are not members. If you believe an AHIMA member or credentialed professional has violated the Code of Ethics, you may file a complaint with AHIMA. Please see the Professional Ethics Committee Policy and Procedures for filing a complaint. A completed Ethics Complaint Form must be submitted along with supporting documentation to:
Profession Governance - Professional Ethics Committee
233 N. Michigan Ave, 21st Floor
Chicago, IL 60601
AHIMA offers an ethics self-assessment to help its members and credentialed HIM professionals identify ethical strengths as well as opportunities for improvement. This tool is intended for personal use only.
Additionally, ten case studies have been developed to compliment the assessment. The case studies intend to help AHIMA members, credentialed HIM professionals, and students learn how to examine and resolve ethical issues they may confront in their own organizations. Some were based on actual ethics complaints brought before the Professional Ethics Committee, and others on AHIMA’s Code of Ethics and the Ethics Self Assessment, which all HIM professionals are expected to complete. Each case study includes a scenario describing a potential ethical dilemma, a choice of responses, and questions to facilitate thought and discussion to determine if the situation is indeed an ethical issue and, if so, how a satisfactory resolution can be reached.
Case Study I. Privacy/Confidentiality
Case Study II. External Relationships
Case Study III. Adherence to AHIMA Code of Ethics/Professionalism
Case Study IV. Work Environment
Case Study V. Interpersonal Relationships
Case Study VI. Self-Reflection
Case Study VII. Compliance
Case Study VIII. Sustaining the Profession through the Support of Educational Opportunities
Case Study IX. AHIMA Membership Responsibilities
Case Study X. Management/Leadership
Health information coding is one of HIM’s core functions. Due to the complex regulatory requirements affecting the coding process, coding professionals are frequently faced with ethical challenges. The AHIMA Standards of Ethical Coding are intended to:
The Standards are relevant to all coding professionals and those managing the coding function, regardless of healthcare setting or AHIMA membership status.
Review the AHIMA Standards of Ethical Coding, which was revised and approved by the House of Delegates in September, 2008.
The AHIMA Ethical Standards for Clinical Documentation Improvement Professionals are intended to assist in decision-making processes and actions, outline expectations for making ethical decisions in the workplace, and demonstrate the professionals' commitment to integrity. They are relevant to all clinical documentation improvement professionals and those who manage the clinical documentation improvement (CDI) function, regardless of the healthcare setting in which they work, or whether they are AHIMA members or nonmembers.