The American Health Information Management Association opened its 81st annual convention Saturday in Grapevine, Texas.
The event should prove notable for the explosion and interest in health information management because of the proposed multibillion-dollar program of federal subsidies for information technology, a keynote speech by David Blumenthal, HHS' national coordinator for health IT, and the departure of AHIMA CEO Linda Kloss, who announced that she would be stepping down March 31, 2010.
The convention runs through Thursday.
Kloss, in her column in the October edition of the Journal of AHIMA, borrowed a phrase from leadership writer Margaret Wheatley, noting that “HIM is truly entering an era of ‘powerful possibilities.' " Heightened reliance on information technology in medicine will, in many ways, create a whole new field of health information management, Kloss wrote. It will create a demand for new skills but also for workers with historically useful capabilities such as familiarity with how healthcare works and the ability to manage change. (Read Kloss' commentary on standardization of administrative processes.)
One of the key topics to be discussed during the educational tracks today will be on the challenge of creating an electronic version of the legal health record, a topic AHIMA has worked hard to add to the national health IT agenda. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides federal money for workforce training as well as its more widely publicized billions of dollars for hardware and software. Blumenthal is likely to touch on training support among other subjects during his keynote address scheduled for Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Mark Chassin, president of the Joint Commission, will make a general session presentation, on “Achieving Consistent Excellence: The Healthcare Quality Challenge for the 21st Century.”