AHIMA’s Virtual Lab
AHIMA's Virtual Lab is an important resource for health information management (HIM) education. It’s an affordable solution to bring healthcare information technology software to the classroom.
Learning is important, but all the lectures and reading in the world can’t properly prepare anyone for a real world, HIM working environment. Experiential learning (or learning by doing) adds an essential component to the academic experience. For HIM students, getting hands-on practice with the software tools they’ll encounter outside the academic sphere can help prepare them for anything their careers might throw at them.
How it began:
To make key healthcare information technologies more readily available to academic programs, the American Health Information Management Association launched its Virtual Lab in March, 2006, an internet-based software lab and lesson repository. Developed with input and contributions from software partners, educators, and HIM professionals, the lab was created to provide a learning laboratory for use in colleges and universities offering degree programs in health information management.
Contributions from AHIMA and software vendors funded the initial development of the lab, and ongoing contributions make it an affordable resource for academic education. Available as a subscription service to academic institutions, the Virtual Lab provides experiential learning through simulations in health information management. Students get hands-on practice in healthcare information technologies.
Initially established with 30 pilot programs, the Virtual Lab now has more than 200 subscribing schools, and has been used by more than 10,000 students.
Accessed via the internet, its design is usable for both distance learning and on-campus programs. System maintenance of the lab applications and user support is provided centrally by the Virtual Lab, minimizing IT resources required at the local school.
Lab lessons and instructional material are designed to illustrate fundamental concepts and principles of electronic health information management. HIM educators and practitioners contribute to the development and review of instructional materials.
System maintenance and support is provided by Virtual Lab staff.
The future: As the healthcare industry continues to expand its reliance on information and communication technologies, competencies in managing electronic information resources will only become more critical for all types of healthcare professionals, and vital components for HIM education.
To learn more about subscribing to the Virtual Lab, go to our homepage.