AHIMA Calls For Improved Health Information Governance to Unify Standards for EHR Use

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is calling for improved and unified health information governance to standardize electronic health record use to ensure the technology fulfills its promise of guiding better patient care.

Association to Convene National Summit on Health Integrity

CHICAGO – Oct. 1, 2012 – The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is calling for improved and unified Health Information Governance to standardize Electronic Health Record (EHR) use to ensure the technology fulfills its promise of guiding better, more efficient patient care.

AHIMA is ready to work with healthcare industry providers, health plans, quality organizations and vendors as well as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish standards so that healthcare providers have clear principles to guide their patient documentation.

Aspects of Health Information Governance will be addressed throughout AHIMA’s 84th annual Convention and Exhibit which begins today in Chicago. Additionally, AHIMA will bring together industry leaders to discuss data integrity at its Health Information Integrity Summit: The Quest for Safe, Usable, Quality Data in EHRs, Nov. 8-9, in Chicago. This spotlight on EHRs provides an opportunity for experts and those working in the field to discuss the latest insights and developments into an issue that affects every aspect of the healthcare system.

“Unified data governance principles will help promote accuracy and consistency and reduce ambiguity,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “AHIMA stands ready to work with HHS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other groups to establish the guidelines that will accurately and fairly represent performance and outcomes of care. Data governance and data integrity have been and will be a critical part of AHIMA’s strategic plan, and we will continue to lead the discussions and the solutions developed in this field.”

AHIMA has demonstrated consistent leadership in assuring that health information used for all purposes is accurate, complete and trustworthy. AHIMA developed a Code of Ethics and Standards of Ethical Coding, which established ethical expectations for health information management (HIM) and coding professionals.  AHIMA’s HIM Principles of Individual, Integrity, and Protection – addressing health information has also served as the basis of the Association’s work in clinical and administrative transaction and vocabulary standards.

For decades, AHIMA has led the call for uniform interoperable data and information including guidelines for coding standards.  Since 2003, AHIMA has also urged CMS to adopt a national set of coding guidelines for hospital reporting of emergency department and clinic visits.

Recent concerns that EHR implementation could lead to fraud further highlights the need to establish these standards. These standards will address data integrity, patient safety, quality measurement as well as traditional concerns regarding billing fraud.

In 2005, the AHIMA Foundation led the initiative to develop a report for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) that provided recommendations on what the industry must do to prevent potential abuses in EHR documentation.

“We urge the government to truly investigate the depth of the recently reported problems so we can determine the scope of the issue and take steps to fix it,” said Thomas Gordon. “We will continue to ask our members to share the experiences they have with us so we can develop possible solutions.”

AHIMA will analyze the latest feedback from its members as well as the findings from the AHIMA summit and expects to provide additional recommendations in early 2013.


Representing more than 64,000 specially educated Health Information Management professionals in the United States and around the world, the American Health Information Management Association is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA’s enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information. www.ahima.org