About AHIMA World Congress

About AWC – Frequently Asked Questions

Is AHIMA global or international?

  • AHIMA has a “global focus” that is being addressed with international strategy. In some areas, we are global today. For example, our standards work in WHO, ISO, HL7, and in the EU-US Roadmap on Interoperability are global. Even though most AHIMA products are US-centric, many have broad international appeal, tantamount to global appeal. Our international business development markets are outside US (oUS).
  • In 2013, the AHIMA House of Delegates approved a global (outside US) membership category.
  • In 2016, the AHIMA Board of Directors approved an International Strategy–2017 to 2022. The strategy is assessed and adjusted each year with the Board, and a business plan for the subsequent year is prepared for approval.
  • AHIMA World Congress (AWC), the international arm of AHIMA, was created in 2016, and announced at AHIMA’s 88th annual convention in Baltimore, and the IFHIMA conference in Tokyo, Japan.
  • AWC’s Strategy and business development efforts are based on extensive primary and secondary research and analyses of the industry, market demands, capacity, and best ROI; these efforts are also in alignment with AHIMA’s mission to support the profession and its members around the world.

What are the benefits of AHIMA’s international efforts?

  • We are working toward a vision of improving health through trusted information. Just like water and air, health knows no geographic or national boundaries. The same is true for health data and information. AHIMA’s international efforts move us toward our vision.
  • AHIMA’s efforts guide and elevate the HIM profession around the world. In many regions oUS, the HIM discipline is not well recognized and often seen as part of health information technology, informatics, or even as a pure administrative function related to billing.
  • In some areas we visit, HIM may be recognized, and even the emerging needs of CDI and health data analytics are recognized, but no specialized training or certification potentials have existed. Expansion of AHIMA services will enable workforce development in needed specialty areas.
  • A developed HIM workforce around the world enables practice standardization, trusted data and information, improved safety and quality of care, and healthier communities.
  • International efforts enable increased investments to support AHIMA domestic member services.
  • 95 percent of the world’s people live and seek healthcare services outside the US. Only 10% of the world’s HIM professionals live and work outside the US. This translates to significant shortages of trained and prepared HIM workers to help ensure that standards for health data and information management (so critical to safe, quality care) are implemented and followed. Given the shortages of skilled HIM workers and the demands of rapid adoption of electronic health systems outside the US, AHIMA’s influence on practices for managing data and information has never been needed more than it is today.

What is the AHIMA World Congress?

  • The AHIMA World Congress (AWC) was established and launched by AHIMA in October 2016 as an international arm and a wholly owned subsidiary of AHIMA.
  • We are organizing efforts so that we leverage AHIMA’s infrastructure and scalability, but minimize distraction to AHIMA’s operations supporting domestic priorities and domestic membership needs.
  • The establishment of AWC enables development of membership chapters where there are members and where growing demand for membership and services exist. Establishment of this subsidiary enables optimizing on the demand for relationships with and services of AHIMA.
  • AWC is establishing affiliation and partnership opportunities to further our international efforts.
  • The AWC serves as AHIMA’s single interface for all oUS entities and opportunities. All AHIMA oUS activities and initiatives will be integrated and coordinated through AWC.

What are AHIMA’s and AWC’s latest international efforts?

  • Since its inception, AWC has been focusing on the growth of AHIMA’s certifications and membership oUS as well as development of international membership chapters in countries where significant numbers of AHIMA members live and work. Two chapters have been created in 2017, in the Philippines and UAE. AWC plans to develop 10 additional chapters in the next 5 years.
  • The AWC Organizational Membership has been developed and is being piloted in 2017. It is available only oUS to support and recognize healthcare organizations for their excellence in the core Healthcare Information Competencies–including Coding, CDI, Analytics, Informatics, Privacy and Security. The Organizational Membership program is focused on internal training for healthcare organizations located oUS.
  • AWC has developed a website, www.AWC.world, to provide focused, localized content, offers and information on a scalable basis to AHIMA’s international members, credential holders, and customers. For example, certification exams are offered differently oUS, and are only available in monthly windows four times a year. Exam preparation, products, dates, and currencies are different as well.
  • AWC’s first international professional development summit was held in October 2017 in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The summit brought together health information representatives from the entire regional healthcare ecosystem for sessions on AHIMA best practices, the complete revenue cycle, and local workforce development. The Summit was enhanced with subsequent certification preparation and training workshops on coding, CDIP, CHDA, DRGs and Privacy and Security. Additionally, the summit’s depth of content and expert AHIMA speakers enabled local professionals and decision makers to recognize the value of HIM and AHIMA’s cutting-edge practices and applicability to the local healthcare system.

What are the services of AHIMA World Congress?

  • Organizing and supporting AHIMA’s international members, credential holders and customers through the development of international chapters. This is similar to the approach taken by other US-based membership associations, such as HIMSS, ARMA International, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Chapters are and will continue to be established where AHIMA members live and work outside the US and where there is a demand for AHIMA membership, products, and services.
  • Developing relationships with healthcare providers and medical service organizations to provide the new AWC Organizational Membership program (available oUS only). AWC Organizational Membership will benefit organizations through added training opportunities for their workforce and will also bring in funds to support services for AHIMA members.
  • Developing new sponsorship opportunities oUS, allowing sponsoring organizations to take advantage of business development, branding and marketing opportunities in not only their regions and nations, but through exposure across all of AHIMA’s audiences. Sponsorship will bring in funds to support services for AHIMA members both inside and outside the US.
  • Supporting governmental agencies (ministries of health and health authorities), major employers, and healthcare organizations through staff training.
  • Providing AHIMA training on HIM practices and standards.
  • Enabling AHIMA certifications and certification prep products and services to develop and support (new and existing) individual HIM professionals.
  • Enabling easier access to AHIMA Press books in countries oUS where demand is strong. AWC chapters play a critical role in this process, allowing for bulk shipments, which eliminates shipping cost barriers for many individual purchasers.
  • Expanding AHIMA individual membership as a base for HIM professional development outside the US.

How do AHIMA’s international efforts benefit the US-based HIM professional?

  • International efforts enable increased investments to support AHIMA domestic member services.
  • AHIMA’s work outside the US benefits its members everywhere. Increased AHIMA certification outside the US will benefit certified members in the US as this increases the recognition of HIM professionals’ value. Today, AHIMA competes with AACP in coding certification outside and inside the US. Increased requirements for AHIMA certification by healthcare providers in other countries will serve as further testimony to the value of AHIMA certifications inside the US.
  • Whether inside the US or oUS, employers are looking for qualified HIM professionals (coders, CDI specialists, analysts, informatics professionals) to work with implementation and optimization of EHRs. Outside the US, where AHIMA certified and trained professionals are not available, those with competing certifications (or no certifications) are hired. The quality of data and information in these areas may be affected. This impacts the perception of the HIM professional in the region which translates to a view of HIM professionals everywhere.

Will international efforts distract AHIMA staff from focus on US HIM practices and membership support?

  • The AWC has been established as a separate entity to help avoid such distraction. As a separate but related operation, dedicated staff/staff time, and resources are applied to meet the needs of international chapters, while leveraging core AHIMA infrastructure. This minimizes distraction of those providing domestic member services. Again, oUS revenue leverages and supports domestic activities.