Annual general meeting: question & answer

Annual general meeting: question & answer

This is an overview of the question and answer period from the 2020 annual general meeting. For those who were unable to attend the live annual general meeting, please review the AGM course where you will find the following:

  • Agenda
  • Previous meeting minutes
  • 2019–2020 Accountability Report
  • Bylaws
  • Recorded Annual General Meeting 2020
  • Questions & answers

Completing the course is worth 1 CPE credit for professional members who have not already manually submitted their attendance at the live event for credit.


Please provide us an overview of what the Association and College have done in response to COVID-19.

We recognize the significance of this pandemic and the effect it has on every Canadian and worldwide.

As a board, we worked with Jeff to understand immediate changes that needed to be implemented in order to support the profession, including:

  • Publishing a COVID-19 resource page with best practices curated from our industry groups
  • Highlighting free CPE offerings for members that are relevant for learning about COVID-19
  • Temporarily removing job postings costs for employers
  • Facilitating the re-entry of former professionals to help from a capacity perspective
  • Working with our accredited educational partners to support their programs and students
  • Adapting our live proctoring for the CHIM NCE

We continue to solicit input from our chapters about further opportunities to help the profession as the year continues. Being adaptable as a CHIMA professional truly benefits your organization. If you have feedback for us, you may visit the resource page on our new website and use the feedback form to share your ideas of how we can further be of help.

Would CHIMA consider adding a restriction on how long a recent graduate can hold a student membership?

We have been reflecting on that question. The intent of a student membership is to reduce the cost of membership for people who wish to pursue a professional designation with the Canadian College of Health Information Management. Following graduation, these individuals should no longer be eligible for the student discount and should opt to become a certified (i.e., professional) member or sign up for an affiliate membership. This is definitely something for us to revisit and we continue to look at it.

What is CHIMA doing to attract more HIM professionals?

First, we’re active on outreach to other associations and strategic partners. We’re working towards having more formal recognition of the profession and the value it adds. As we go, we are indeed finding more traction in market with who we sit down with, such as the CEO of Eastern Health in Newfoundland and Labrador and various ministries. People are incredibly interested in not only deepening the practice area of classification and coding, but also in the broader aspect of the importance of quality of data and how it informs care for Canadians.

Secondly, our work to professionalize the brand and marketing efforts is creating a platform for us to be able to build on what we’ve done so far in terms of outreach. Our education partners are supporting these efforts and deserve great credit for helping extend our outreach to interested candidates.

It’s difficult to gain CPE credits, especially in light of COVID-19. Having more virtual opportunities to gain CPE credits is helpful. What are my options?

We recently embedded the CPE program policy directly into our website with frequently asked questions and quick links to various resources. We encourage members to read categories 1 through 7 to fully understand the options for obtaining CPE credits.

There are two items we have taken recent action on to help our professional members gain CPE credits:

  1. Our COVID-19 resource page on the website offers access to free CPE credits. 
  2. All PPB quizzes are now included in the cost of your professional membership and available in our new learning management system for you to take online. This gives you immediate access to 24 CPE credits. We committed to looking at how to deliver more value for your professional membership and with the launch of the new website, we are pleased to provide this additional feature.

CIHI offers great online resources and there are almost 7 CPE credits available through WHO-provided COVID-19 education webinars. Volunteering your time with your chapter can also be a rewarding option. 

While we have postponed our national conference and moved it to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HIP Week Live is coming up in October and will provide online options to gain a significant number of CPE credits. We’re packaging up content with our chapters and looking at how to activate live broadcasts across the country. We’re very excited by this initiative—stay tuned for more info as we build this.

What is our College and what role does it play in relation to members?

The certification you hold is with the Canadian College of Health Information Management, not the Association. The College is a national, not-for-profit corporation that sets the accreditation and standards of education for certification of the health information profession in Canada. The College protects the public interest by governing and regulating the professional practice of more than 4,300 health information member registrants. In enhancing the status as a regulatory body, the College advances the professionalization of health information and acknowledgement of the profession as a key driver of policy, funding, and the care that Canadians receive by:

  • Guiding the ethical handling practices of Canadians’ health information
  • Maintaining a public registry of certified health professionals 
  • Providing respected professional designations across the practice areas of health information
  • Setting and monitoring standards of knowledge through accreditation, certification (including national examinations), and continuing education requirements
  • Creating value for members of the College and the Association

The Canadian Health Information Management Association, an affiliate of the College, was founded in 1946 and the College was incorporated in 1972. Membership of the national Association and College are mandatory to be a registered and certified health information professional. Each such professional is associated with a provincial or territorial chapter of the Association.

Why is our membership fee so high (e.g., in relation to nursing)?

We understand that value for investment is important. Let me answer your question with three responses:

First, it is important to know what you are investing in each year. You are paying for the right to use a certification mark that you uphold that is granted to you by the Canadian College of Health Information Management. For many of you, this is the CHIM. There is an entire ecosystem of standards that are continuing to advance because of your investments. These advancements are noted in the accountability report.

Second, you derive benefit from your Association through professional development, connecting with each other, and building a community. We will continue to work to deliver more value through your Association and have acted on this recently. For example, with the new website launch on April 27, PPB quizzes that offer 24 free CPE credits were made available to you.

Finally, in relation to cost, member fees have not increased since 2015—and with the integration of our chapters, some of you saw a decrease in your combined fees when the chapters rolled into CHIMA.

With our unified governance structure, we have two ecosystems that we run for the Association and College. Your fees fund both of these, which together represents your professional membership investment. For the College, this includes the development of standards that help increase the legitimacy of your professional designation. In relation to the Association, we have the great fortune of having wonderful chapter chairs and committees—and now is the time to engage. People who engage with the profession through their chapters see more value out of their membership.

How can we make entry into the HIM field easier for recent graduates, particularly when it comes to finding practicums and gaining experience?

In some circumstances, especially around COVID-19, we’ve become more flexible. We are working with students to write professional practice briefs and allowing students to connect and contribute to the thought leadership base and professional practice.

We’re connecting students seeking practicums to HIM professionals and leaders in the field. The virtual/remote work world has taken off rather suddenly due to COVID-19. There is real opportunity there and it’s continuing to grow. More is needed and it does take time, but it is coming together. We can take that away, back to our board of directors, to do some further brainstorming.

In relation to our academic standards set by the College, we are reflecting on what a practicum is. We are redefining it to broaden its focus on lived experience vs. being too prescriptive about format.

Are there any organizations hiring right now?

There are. The job board is made available at echima.ca/careers to CHIMA’s professional members* seeking employment in the health information profession. 

*Professional members must sign in first before accessing this job board 

To assist with the strain on various health systems nationwide due to COVID-19, we are offering employers complimentary 30-day job postings on our website (one post per job). This offer will expire August 31, 2020. 

What can you tell us about the new online platform?

Our online platform migration happened on April 27. This new platform includes an integrated membership and learning management system along with testing capabilities. The CHIMA team also introduced a live chat on the site to be more responsive to member needs.

The feedback has been positive about the site and the data backs it up. Members are now coming to the CHIMA site for information, learning, and to investigate further pathways for professional development. Some preliminary statistics that you might be interested in during the first month of go live:

  • User utilization is up 24%
  • Number of user sessions is up 40%
  • Time spent on the site is up 132%
  • PPB downloads has increased exponentially—in just 7 days we had 200 downloads, which is the same number of downloads we had in all of FY 2019–2020

This platform will allow us to grow into the future with additional features and capabilities as we advance the profession.

How can I volunteer with CHIMA?

Get involved with the chapters; chapter leads, committees, and members are dedicated and passionate about the profession and chapters are always looking for volunteers. It’s a fantastic group of people and we appreciate the time they take to help. You can visit your chapter page on our website and fill out the volunteer form, which goes directly to the chapter chair.

We have different ad hoc committees that require volunteers from time to time. Furthermore, in 2019 there were call outs for advisory groups. We had 15 people join our advisory groups to inform on programming. 

In regard to the conference, we will require further assistance with conference logistics closer to October 2021. If you are located in Winnipeg, reach out to your MBNU chapter as they will be playing a large role leading up to and during to the 2021 conference. This will be posted on HIM conference.ca, so stay tuned there for updates.

Related Articles