World Health Day Observed Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Original story posted on: April 6, 2020

Today, April 7, is World Health Day as proclaimed by the World Health Organization.

On World Health Day, we would normally celebrate the advancement of policies to create health, wellness, and economic prosperity that benefits improved health status. Today, however, we live in the midst of a pandemic that is attacking almost every country in the world, irrespective of their economic status and health policies. 

Yet, I believe that at the end of this, we will find lessons learned that can be applied to future epidemics and pandemics. And I hope we become wiser in understanding the global nature of health and health data.

To advance this goal, the International Federation of Health Information Management Associations (IFHIMA) is surveying our member nations, as well as individual members, about health information business processes, in light of COVID-19. The preliminary results from this survey will be disseminated in late April. 

IFHIMA recently celebrated its 50th anniversary as the umbrella organization supporting our 23 member nations and hundreds of individual, corporate, and educational institution members. The IFHIMA website showcases pictures from the 50th anniversary celebration and a video with pictures of Congresses. You will note on the website that we highlight our mission, vision, and values. Our vision, “a healthy world enabled by quality health information,” remains a key focus as we identify strategies and priorities for the developing nations, as well as nations that have a large, well-organized health information management (HIM) workforce.

IFHIMA is an NGO, with official relations with the World Health Organization for more than 40 years. We are proud of this unique status, and the service of our nations and individual members to WHO Federation of International Classification committees such as the Education and Implementation and Morbidity Reference group. 

IFHIMA publishes Global News, our newsletter, three times per year. The issues highlight member nation activities, activities with WHO FIC, success stories, and industry viewpoints. For the latest issue, please visit https://ifhima.org/global-news/

Today’s activities being executed by our volunteers include a workforce whitepaper that will publish in early 2021 and a social media strategy workgroup. Additionally, a workgroup is developing a whitepaper that will address many facets of ICD-11 implementation, as countries begin to organize for deployment. As any reader knows, this is a complex, multi-faceted endeavor, especially since ICD-11 is dramatically different from ICD-10. 

In 2018, IFHIMA undertook a major enhancement to our learning modules, again with the assistance of our volunteers. The learning modules, which can be found on our website, are introductory materials particularly written for developing nations as they educate and inform their members and all levels of a healthcare workforce. Learning modules may be found online here: https://ifhima.org/learning-center/

I’ve spoken on previous Talk Ten Tuesdays segments about the IFHIMA data privacy whitepaper, which is available via registration on the IFHIMA website.

As we manage today’s reality of world health and prepare for tomorrow, please put a mark in your calendar for late October or early November 2022, as IFHIMA and HIMAA will host the 20th IFHIMA Congress in Brisbane, Australia. Preliminary plans will be available in late 2020. 

Finally, as you consider the meaning of Word Health Day, please consider joining IFHIMA as an individual member for $35 per year, or $100 for three years. For more information, go online to: https://ifhima.org/members/

Be safe, and stay well!!

Programming Note: Listen to Lorraine Fernandes report this story live today during Talk Ten Tuesdays 10-10:30 a.m. EST.

Lorraine Fernandes, RHIA

Lorraine Fernandes is an international and domestic thought leader, accomplished author and respected public speaker on topics related to technology’s role in healthcare transformation. Lorraine is the 2019-2022 President of the International Federation of Health Information Management Associations (IFHIMA) and co-author of two IFHIMA whitepapers addressing governance and privacy. Lorraine is a recipient of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) 2013 Pioneer Award and 1998 Discovery Award, and California Health Information Association (CHIA) 2002 Distinguished Member Award.

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