Two professional associations dealing with healthcare information have agreed to team up for lobbying and public policy pronouncements.
The Chicago-based American Health Information Management Association, whose 50,000 members manage medical records, and the Bethesda, Md.-based American Medical Informatics Association, whose 5,000 members are mostly physicians and nurses, are leaders in the field of medical informatics.
"We almost always have a parallel view where things ought to go with creating this information technology infrastructure for this country," said Don Detmer, M.D., president and chief executive officer of AMIA. By joining forces on certain issues, the two groups can gain organizational synergy, he said. "It's sort of one and one is three."
The two organizations also will work together on training and education, Detmer said.
Both Detmer and Linda Kloss, executive vice president and CEO of AMIA, said the alliance is not a precursor to a merger.
The two organizations have been working together "in a number of different ways over the years and always kind of saw eye to eye," Kloss said.
She said often when staff members of her organization went to Capitol Hill to meet with legislators or their staff, AMIA representatives would be there.
"By joining, we can leverage what we are doing a little bit better," Kloss said, either by saving some money by sending a single representative or by covering more ground.
Kloss said AHIMA will expand its Washington office to accommodate joint meetings and give visiting AMIA officials and volunteers a place to meet and work.
"The next step will be we'll get some articulation of priorities on what we'll be working on together," Kloss said. "We should have that by the end of July."