The AHIMA19 Health Data and Information Conference is a wrap! Approximately 4,500 healthcare professionals attended this year’s event at McCormick Place in Chicago, where they experienced a great venue to learn and network.
Monday’s keynote session kicked off with a rousing performance by players from Chicago’s own Second City improv/comedy theater troupe – complete with a personalized song about the importance of HIM its many professionals.
The AHIMA President, Valerie Watzlaf, PhD, MPH, RHIA, FAHIMA, kicked off the conference with a personal story and reminded the audience that “Without health information management professionals and your skills, the healthcare machine stops, data is not properly managed, patient information is not secure, and healthcare is not leveraging information in the record to make better clinical decisions for patients, who must always be put first.” Valerie’s passion and professionalism set the stage for the rest of the conference.
AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris, Ph.D., CAE, also addressed the attendees and shared the very exciting news that AHIMA is expanding its mission globally, including:
- Continuing to build the “House of Healthcare” and providing the leadership to support members and their healthcare organizations
- Positioning HIM professionals as thought leaders and highlighting their efforts to establish data integrity
- Becoming a global healthcare leader. Wylecia announced that AHIMA was selected as a partner for mHealth Israel, the Gulf Cooperation Council Workforce Development Conference in Dubai, and is the official co-organizer for the Croatian European Union.
Christina Roosen, formerly Vice President of Public Affairs for HIMSS International, has joined AHIMA as Vice President, International to help lead AHIMA’s global efforts. Fred Wulf, CCS, AHIMA Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer, and EXTEND Resources Director of Operations, is one of several organizers who founded the AHIMA World Congress chapter in the Philippines. As a follow up to Ms. Harris’ announcement, Fred has committed to providing his knowledge and expertise to Christina, reenergizing the Philippines AHIMA chapter, and supporting AHIMA’s efforts abroad.
As is customary at every AHIMA annual conference, there was a wide range of educational topics and tracks that provided everyone from students to seasoned executives interesting learning opportunities. The Exhibit Hall offered real-world examples of how dedicated companies and their personnel from around the world provide tools, technology, and highly skilled professionals to support healthcare organizations’ needs.
In addition to providing many coding and clinical documentation integrity sessions, AHIMA19 also organized a two-day Privacy and Security Institute that was well attended. Many Health Information Management (HIM) professionals now find themselves on the front lines of data security: protecting confidential information and disclosing it through proper channels only when necessary. HIM teams have been responsible for patients’ medical records for many years. Now, they are being called upon to share their expertise with other areas of the healthcare organization.
As we take everything that we learned at AHIMA19 and put it to use in our day-to-day roles, be sure to mark your calendars and save the date for AHIMA20 on October 14-17 in Atlanta, Georgia. See you in the Peach State!
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