Great Future Ahead, Says New AHIMA President

Original story posted on: February 19, 2018

Smith preaches collaboration, outreach, advancement on TTT broadcast.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following are remarks made by American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) President and Board Chair Diann Smith during the live Talk-Ten-Tuesdays broadcast on Feb. 13.

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) celebrates its 90-year anniversary this year, and it’s wonderful to be part of this dynamic Association during a time of expanding vision, influence, and growth. In keeping with the AHIMA strategy, my vision for 2018 as president/chair of the board is to ensure operational excellence, to focus on our membership, and to remain agile in order to meet the opportunities and challenges of the ever-changing healthcare environment to ensure all health information is secure and has integrity. With a sharper focus on our members, we will transition and transform HIM professionals for future roles by advancing education, competencies, and skills. 

During AHIMA’s strategic planning session in January, we brought all the affiliate organizations together. Collaboration with the affiliate organizations, such as the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM), Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIM), Council for Excellence in Education, and AHIMA Foundation, is an important step in ensuring alignment. The International Federation of Health Information Management association was also in attendance. We reaffirmed AHIMA’s strategies and how these support our members to make a transformation into emerging roles. We all must be singing from the same song sheet to execute effective strategy and realize positive, effective outcomes.

Operational excellence requires attention to internal operations of the Association and how we support our membership through education, communication, and the development of future strategies to remain a leader in the healthcare industry. 

To meet this challenge, I’m excited to announce our new CEO, Dr. Wylecia Wiggs Harris, who started at AHIMA on Feb. 5. She is a transformational leader who has experience leading associations, has demonstrated the ability to initiate and lead enterprise-wide change initiatives, and knows how to grow and strengthen membership and develop business relationships to advance the HIM profession and AHIMA.  She also has a proven record of creating strong leadership teams and employee culture.

We’ve identified strategies to improve transparency, collaboration, and communication between AHIMA, its affiliates, and the membership at large. A part of transformation is gaining new skills and using that knowledge to improve performance. My main goal for 2018 is to ensure that members not only feel supported by AHIMA through our advocacy for the profession and the educational opportunities we provide, but are inspired to continue to grow in their knowledge and lead the healthcare community at this time of great transformation. I know that change can be challenging, and on behalf of the AHIMA board of directors, I’d like to thank our members for their continued support and commitment during this transition. 

I see a very bright future, as our members are poised to lead and influence change. Great things are ahead of us!

Disclaimer: Every reasonable effort was made to ensure the accuracy of this information at the time it was published. However, due to the nature of industry changes over time we cannot guarantee its validity after the year it was published.

Diann H. Smith, president and board chair of AHIMA, is vice president of health information management services and clinical documentation improvement at Texas Health Resources in Arlington, Tex., an integrated health system with 29 hospitals. She is a published author and experienced speaker on a variety of healthcare-related topics.

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