CERTIFICATION UPDATE s
This is the third year of AHIMA World Congress’ (AWC)
dedicated work outside US and it has been bearing fruits. AWC is
the international arm of AHIMA and is focused on supporting,
expanding, and developing new opportunities for AHIMA
members, credential holders, and customers around the world.
AHIMA certifications outside the US are booming. For example,
the first quarter of 2019 produced 26 times more credential
holders outside the US as the same period in 2018.
Rapid Certification Growth
There are multiple reasons for this very rapid growth. First,
there is a demand for quality coding, CDI, and Data Analytics
certifications which has been driven in part by continuous
transition in many countries from a single payer healthcare
system to multiplayer. Increasingly countries are creating
competitive insurance structures that demand quality coding
and quality documentation practices for reimbursement.
AHIMA certifications are recognized for their quality rigor and
experience-based eligibility. AHIMA certifications have always
been in demand and recognized as challenging to earn, but
extremely beneficial to both the holder and the employer as they
provide more career opportunities and advancement, better pay,
and quality assurance in the coding process.
For employers, coding and CDI are a combination. Having a
good medical coder with an AHIMA credential ensures the
quality of the coding process, but even the best coder can only
do so much to increase reimbursement revenue if the medical
documentation is not complete or incorrect. Therefore, it is
important to have coding and CDI working in tandem to ensure
quality data outcomes for expanded revenue opportunities,
decreased denial rates, improved patient care, and assurance
for any healthcare data applications and outcomes where data
must be complete, secure, and trusted. Otherwise any reports,
forecasts, or tests are suspect.
Surveying the Landscape
AWC is also making progress in the competitive landscape
outside the US. For quality and security reasons, AHIMA
credentials were not available for almost three years, somewhere
between 2011–2015. This created a vacuum for quality credentials
and professional development for HIM professionals everywhere
outside US. It was devastating not just to individual HIM
professionals looking for AHIMA products and services, but also
to their employers—healthcare providers and service providers.
This vacuum provided an opportunity for other HIM credential
providers to step in and fill the void. Although it is taking time
for other providers to bring the quality, quantity, and availability
of their credentials to AHIMA standards, the markets found
a way to address the demand, which hurt AHIMA’s standing
outside the US.
Therefore, AWC has consistently focused on bringing back
AHIMA certifications around the world. It has not been easy,
but the increase in AHIMA certification demand has shown
improvement and acceleration as attitudes toward AHIMA
certifications are changing and demand is increasing. There
is still a long road ahead to win back the trust and ensure
(especially a wider market) that AHIMA is back and will
continue to provide consistent availability, access, and support
for its certifications.
Since professional certification requires periodical recertification,
AWC is dedicated to increasing the number of local and online
CEU earning opportunities to make sure HIM certified
professionals have access and means to earn CEUs for
recertification. The good news is research shows professional
certification is the most desirable way to advance a professional’s
career, even more than a graduate or undergraduate degree.
Cost, length of training, and employers’ recognition are the main
factors diving the certification demand.
Expanding International Support
AHIMA (through AWC as its dedicated international arm)
is expanding its support to international communities with
expanded Certification Windows, custom and bundled pricing,
and improved online applications. AWC has a dedicated website
with specific information and updates for test takers outside the
US. Learn more about international certification.
AWC is also enabling easier access to AHIMA books locally in
many countries, providing the quarterly chapter certification
prep workshops, and access to the CEU training opportunities,
such as AWC Healthcare Information Summit. Learn more
about the 2019 Summit. For more information please e-mail
Alexandre Bouché, AHIMA World Congress, global
managing director. v
AHIMA Certifications Make an Impact in International Markets