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AHIMA Leadership Symposium Recap

Submitted by Laura Rizzo, MHA, RHIA, FAHIMA
PHIMA Treasurer

On July 12 & 13, Margie Stackhouse, President, Maggie Foley and Alexa Richards, Delegates, and I had the opportunity to attend AHIMA’s Annual Summer Leadership Symposium in Chicago.  It was a one and a half day educational conference that focused on AHIMA’s Transformation Story and the leadership requirements that are needed to ensure the success of that transformation.

AHIMA’s Transformation Story was presented by Valerie Watzlaf, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, President/Chair of AHIMA and Wylecia Wiggs Harris, PhD, CAE, Executive Director of AHIMA, who shared the vision for transformation, the case for change, and unveiled AHIMA’s new Mission, Vision, and 2020-2023 Strategic Plan. 
Last year AHIMA’s Board of Directors and association leaders recognized that AHIMA was in an unacceptable state of decline and would face great consequences without change.  They also realized the great opportunities if AHIMA transforms to meet the needs of its customers. 

AHIMA’s vision is “a world where trusted information transforms health and healthcare by connecting people systems and ideas.”   To achieve this vision AHIMA must “overcome internal challenges and external disruptors to transformation, greater relevance, and impact.”

The case for change is grounded in the possibilities that are created by change plus the consequences of inaction.  It’s important that we, as AHIMA members, understand and appreciate what this means to us as HIM professionals, as well as, what it means to the health care ecosystem. 

Possibilities Created by Change
  • An innovative culture that unleashes creativity, appreciates failure, and encourages learning
  • Membership growth and new audiences
  • New opportunities for health information professionals to lead across healthcare
  • Improved triple aim: access, quality, and affordability of care
  • A simpler health care ecosystem
Consequences of Inaction
  • Full value of AHIMA and health information professionals not recognized by the ecosystem
  • Devalued credentials, weakened reputation, and loss of market share
  • Membership and revenue decline leading to irrelevancy and ultimately closed doors
  • Lower quality health outcomes for patients
The reality of the need for change was at the heart of the creation of AHIMA’s Foundational Statements (Mission and Vision) and the development of the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan. 
Empowering People to Impact Health

A world where trusted information transforms health and healthcare by connecting people, systems, and ideas.
  • Outcome 3 - Drive strategic transformation and renewed growth as a great partner and place to work
  • Outcome 2 – Shape the health information profession by growing the influence and competitiveness of health information skillsets
  • Outcome 1- Advance and advocate for the creation and use of trusted information across the evolving health continuum
AHIMA’s Vision for Transformation includes a short-term focus on current strengths while exploring growth opportunities to lead AHIMA toward renewal in 2019, and long-term plans to lay the foundation for innovation and greater impact within the healthcare ecosystem by 2023.  Each of the Strategic Outcomes has clearly defined objectives and measures for success for the short and long terms, which will be available to all AHIMA members on the AHIMA website. 

At the First Annual Session of the Association of Medical Librarians of North America in Chicago, in 1929, President Grace Whiting Myers, stated “The group brings together all of the excellence of many individuals, raises it to a high plan, and gives it a large outlook embracing great possibilities.” 

As AHIMA and PHIMA members, we are still the group of individuals that Grace Whiting Myers described!   Each of us has the opportunity and responsibility to impact the future of AHIMA and the HIM profession by becoming well-versed in AHIMA’s strategic outcomes and taking necessary actions to support the AHIMA Transformation.  We need to become transformational leaders who “paint a vision of the future, define and model what it will take to get there and inspire others to make it happen despite the obstacles.

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