History of CHIMA

History of CHIMA

Over the past 75 years (1942), the HIM profession has gone through many evolutionary changes.  

Early in the 20th century there was no established method of collecting data and health information. In 1928, the American College of Surgeons encouraged leaders from the United States and Canada who were working with patient records to collaborate, and in 1928 the Association of Record Librarians of North America (ARLNA) was formed. By the end of that year, 58 members were admitted from 25 states and Canada.

In 1942, the Canadian association was chartered and became a formal, separate entity. In 1949, the Canadian Association of Medical Record Librarians (CAMRL) received its letters patent as a federally chartered organization with the mission and goals to provide membership services.

In the 1970s, the role of the health information management (HIM) professional expanded to include interpretation of the record and translation of that documentation into standardized codes for diseases and surgical procedures using the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). With the arrival of computer technology to support electronic information capture, storage, and retrieval, coded data became easily searchable and accessible. 

“I joined this organization when I was a student at the School for Medical Record Librarians at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. As a past president and former Executive Director I am most proud of the role our organization played in raising the awareness of health care providers and the public around the issues of privacy and confidentiality long before there was such a thing as privacy legislation.”

Patricia A. Hewes, CHIM, BA, BEd, MEd, CAE

Today, CHIMA represents all certified HIM professionals across Canada. Through the years, the professional title has evolved from medical record librarian to health record technician to health record administrator and health record practitioner to HIM professional.  Many new roles have evolved due to changes in technology and health care reform, and a wide variety of them are outlined in the Workforce Transformation Report.