AHIMA: HIM and HIT Professionals Collaborate for Interoperability


In collaboration with Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) unveiled a roadmap for the development of standards to support information governance (IG) in healthcare including national and international efforts to ensure interoperability among health information systems.

AHIMA is calling for comments on the white paper, Health IT Standards for Health Information Management Practices, which outlines an approach for cross-collaboration between health information management (HIM) professionals, standards developers and health information technology (HIT) vendors to support the capture, management, sharing and use of electronic health information.

AHIMA developed the white paper with IHE, an international collaborative of HIT vendors and professional associations in healthcare, to promote the use of standards to achieve functional interoperability and effective use of health information systems, including electronic health record systems.

The white paper is part of AHIMA’s globally focused information governance (IG) initiative and marks a first-time effort for HIT vendors and HIM professionals to work together to ensure that interoperability will be addressed from an HIM perspective.

“We’ve created the methodology and the roadmap for developing interoperability standards to support information governance, ensuring that HIM principles and practices are represented in the collaboration between HIT vendors, professional associations and government entities when crafting standards for interoperability,” said Deborah Green, RHIA, MBA, chief innovation and global services officer. “Identifying HIM Practice needs and a means to address them in standards is the first step in achieving our shared goal of the interoperability and overall governance of health information.”

Drawing on research indicating HIM professionals often encounter many challenges as they transition from the paper-based to an electronic system, the white paper:

  • Outlines a methodology to engage HIM professionals in defining their needs for HIT products
  • Offers a detailed analysis of HIM business requirements and best practices related to information availability, integrity and protection
  • Presents Use Cases that specify the HIT capabilities needed to support HIM practices
  • Defines a roadmap for expanding the list of Use Cases to support HIM business requirements in the development of standards

“HIM is at the heart of IG practices and principles that ensure the integrity, access and security of patient health information,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “It is imperative that HIM and HIT professionals work together so HIM practices are included in HIT standards for IG. Together, we can achieve interoperability of health information.”

Comments on the white paper will be accepted through July 19 and should be submitted here: IT Infrastructure Public Comments.

The white paper is available at: http://ihe.net/uploadedFiles/Documents/ITI/IHE_ITI_WP_HITStdsforHIMPratices_Rev1.0_PC_2015-06-19.pdf

The final white paper is expected to publish this fall and the Use Cases included will become a guide for developing interoperability standards.


The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) represents more than 101,000 health information professionals in the United States and around the world. AHIMA is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA’s enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information. www.ahima.org