|BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 20 -- AMIA and AHIMA today announced the release of a report addressing issues related to work force needs in the era of the electronic health record. The report, Proposed Health Information Management and Informatics Core Competencies for Individuals Working with Electronic Health Records (EHRs), is a product of the Joint Workforce Task Force and provides a useful resource for training all health workers who use EHRs. The workforce taskforce report introduces a model for potential use across various health and allied health disciplines and can be used to guide education and training for individuals working with EHRs.
The report is comprised of information and materials geared for a diverse array of employers, academic facilities and professional societies. Building on their collaborative work, the two associations convened the joint task force to define basic competencies for those who use EHRs in their daily work. The report and the proposed competencies are available for download and public review at: www.amia.org and www.ahima.org.
"As electronic health records become the norm, existing healthcare workers need to learn to use these systems effectively in their daily work. This report gives important guidance to employers and healthcare educators on basic competencies to successfully prepare healthcare workers for an increasingly electronic workplace," said Claire Dixon-Lee, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, Vice President, AHIMA Education and CAHIIM Accreditation.
"A seeming explosion of HIT and informatics programs recently is both good news and bad news," says Don E. Detmer, MD, MA, AMIA President and CEO. "The good news is that a major workforce need in an area of great importance to healthcare has been 'discovered'. The bad news is that there are too few well-educated faculty to assure that students will get genuine value if they are not selective in assessing their educational opportunities. While progress is being made, quality control today is a 'users beware' situation. AMIA is working hard to assure rigorous programs, that is, sound educational opportunities including certification programs across the nation. This report speaks to this issue."
Workforce issues are major priorities for both AMIA and AHIMA. In addition to this task force, the associations are separately engaged in various other activities to help support the preparation, growth and development of a health information management and informatics workforce in an increasingly global and electronic healthcare environment.
The associations have jointly studied the growing concerns throughout the public and private sectors about workforce shortages and the need for trained workers. Recognizing the demands of this emerging environment, AMIA and AHIMA hosted a workforce summit meeting in November 2005, and in 2006 issued the report, Building the Work Force for Health Information Transformation (www.amia.org/inside/initiatives/workforce.asp).
The 2006 report outlines a national action agenda to address workforce challenges related to EHRs and the nationwide health information infrastructure. The report also contains targeted recommendations to healthcare employers, employees, industry representatives, government, and professional organizations for preparing the existing health workforce to use technology tools and to ensure a sufficient number of well-qualified health information specialists to achieve effective health IT transformation.
Plans for a second joint national workforce summit "A Call to Action: Furthering the Workforce Transformation" in 2009 are proceeding with additional details about that meeting forthcoming.
AMIA is the professional home for biomedical and health informatics. AMIA is dedicated to promoting the effective organization, analysis, management, and use of information in health care in support of patient care, public health, teaching, research, administration, and related policy. AMIA's 4,000 members advance the use of health information and communications technology in clinical care and clinical research, personal health management, public health/population, and translational science with the ultimate objective of improving health. Complete information about AMIA is available at: www.amia.org.
The American Health Information Management Association is America's leading professional society whose mission is to "improve healthcare by advancing best practices and standards for health information management and [serve as] the trusted source for education, research and professional credentialing." AHIMA represents more than 52,000 specially educated HIM professionals who serve healthcare and the public by managing, analyzing and utilizing data vital for health system management. www.ahima.org.