CHICAGO - November 1, 2023 – The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) has unveiled findings from a recent survey shedding light on the ongoing workforce challenges in the health information (HI) profession. A critical 66 percent of HI professionals reported experiencing persistent staffing shortages within their workplaces over the past two years. The survey found notable shortages in the areas of data quality, consumer health information, and revenue cycle management, as well as privacy, risk and compliance, and data analytics.
The far-reaching repercussions include reduced reimbursement, increased claims denials, lowered patient data quality, and slower information releases. These challenges impact healthcare quality and resonate with broader healthcare workforce trends. Despite workforce shortages, HI professionals indicated artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) showed promise in alleviating some of the workforce burden while increasing the need for upskilling within the profession.
AHIMA Chief Public Policy and Impact Officer Lauren Riplinger, JD, emphasizes HI professionals' pivotal role in ensuring patient health data accuracy, completeness, timeliness, and security. She stated, "Shortages in our profession have a cascading impact on data integrity and privacy. Addressing these shortages while preparing our profession for the surge in AI and new technologies is paramount. We are committed to collaborating with policymakers and stakeholders to shape the future of the healthcare workforce, considering the transformative effects of AI and machine learning."
AHIMA commissioned NORC at the University of Chicago to conduct the survey to examine the workforce challenges impacting HI professionals and assess the role of emerging and evolving technologies, such as AI and ML, in reshaping the HI workforce. AHIMA will use this information to improve data quality, increase productivity, and reduce administrative burden. With insights from 2,500 respondents, including AHIMA members and non-members, drawn from a vast pool of 35,000 in August 2023, the study spotlights the urgent need for action.
The Biden-Harris Administration and US Congress are actively exploring the implications of AI and emerging technologies on the US workforce. The insights presented in this white paper will play a pivotal role in shaping the future management of patient health data and determining the required workforce to navigate these innovations. AHIMA will use the survey findings and recommendations in the white paper to prepare the HI workforce of the future through policy discussions, research, and education and training to ensure the safe and secure management of patient health data and the needs of the HI workforce remain paramount.
The comprehensive survey findings are available for public download and analysis in the companion white paper.
AHIMA is a global nonprofit association of health information (HI) professionals with more than 67,000 members and more than 100,000 credentials in the field. The AHIMA mission of empowering people to impact health® drives our members and credentialed HI professionals to ensure that health information is accurate, complete, and available to patients and providers. Our leaders work at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business and are found in data integrity and information privacy job functions worldwide.