Since news of the ICD- 10 delay broke, HIM professionals around
the country have been asked one question: So now what?
This is true for ICD- 10 and other industry changes, such as
the advent of value-based purchasing and population health
management. From the C-suite to the front-line staff, other
healthcare professionals are looking to HIM experts for industry
leadership in times of change. And that is exactly what HIM
professionals—many with decades of experience adapting to
technological and regulatory changes—can deliver.
Lifelong Learning Is Key
AHIMA Foundation’s Council for Excellence in Education (CEE)
is focused on helping HIM professionals—at every stage of their
career—build skills to lead their organizations through change.
Their efforts reflect the mission of Reality 2016, a plan to align
HIM education with the needs of an evolving industry.
In January, the CEE presented its final, updated curricula
competency maps that educators can use to ensure that
associate, baccalaureate, and graduate degree programs align
with workforce needs.
“We have developed an educational continuum that we hope
will inspire people to pursue higher levels of learning,” says
Valerie Watzlaf, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, associate professor at
the University of Pittsburgh HIM Department in Pittsburgh, PA,
and past chair of the CEE.
The new curricula competency maps detail leadership
competencies that cover areas like executive decision-making,
negotiation, personnel management, and meeting facilitation.
The maps also address new domains, such as information
governance and health information exchanges (HIEs),
that may represent opportunities for experienced HIM
professionals to return to the classroom and take on new
leadership roles in their organizations. An added bonus:
Higher education translates to higher salaries, Watzlaf says.
Additionally, advanced degrees may help HIM professionals
seek new opportunities in less traditional settings, such as
consulting firms, contract research organizations, and health
plans, Watzlaf says. “We have to demonstrate to people what
we can do in HIM—and that we are not limited to the traditional
roles and can do even more in many diverse settings.”
Credentials Create Opportunities
Specialty certifications in hot areas such as health data analysis,
privacy and security, or clinical documentation improvement
(CDI) also can make HIM professionals more marketable and
valuable to their organizations.
To that end, the CEE has been focused on promoting “stackable
credentials” for graduating HIM students. For example, the CEE
wants more students to pursue additional credentials, such as the
certified health data analyst (CHDA) or certified coding specialist
(CCS), in addition to their two- or four-year RHIA or RHIT.
“Stackable credentials help graduates become work-ready and
make it easier for students to correlate what they are learning in
their core curricula into sought-after workplace skills,” says Lisa
Rae Roper, MHA, MS, CCS-P, PCS, CPC, CPC-I, a member of the
CEE and CEO of Roper Healthcare Consulting, Missoula, MT.
“Additionally, these credentials help students stand out in a tight
job market and prove they are ready to jump into major projects as
they leave the classroom.”
Leadership in the Workplace
HIM professionals also have countless opportunities for
continuous leadership development as part of their daily work, or
what Roper calls building leadership skills “in place.” For instance,
Roper regularly invites up to five colleagues from other disciplines
to listen to AHIMA webinars in her office. Physicians, residents,
students, C-suite executives, nursing leaders, HR professionals,
security directors, and even leaders from local civic organizations
have joined her for these online learning events.
August 2014 | Volume 19 | No. 4
TRIUMPH AWARD RECIPIENTS PAGE 6 | LEADERSHIP LESSONS PAGE 14 | LEADERSHIP SYMPOSIUM WRAP UP PAGE 16
A Changing Industry Needs Your Leadership
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