At the CHIMA & Canadian College of Health Information Management Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on June 21, 2022, we had an opportunity to engage with our members and the public in a town hall session. The following includes the questions answered during the session and the ones time did not permit us to answer.
Through our advocacy and awareness campaigns for the health information profession and the Certified in Health Information Management (CHIM) designation, decision-makers are taking notice and seeking the competencies and skills of certified health information professionals. With this rise in credibility comes increased job opportunities within traditional practice areas and beyond.
As most professions are, we are also facing a retirement curve within the profession. This curve will open up opportunities for new entrants into the profession.
The CHIM designation is nationally recognized. Individual jurisdictions across the country set coding requirements. Coders should learn provincial requirements to determine their ability to code across provinces.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, CHIMA has been providing free listings on our job board from employers and HR departments across the provinces. The 2021–2022 accountability report shows that there were 220 job listings posted to CHIMA’s career centre from 173 organizations searching for certified health information professionals.
If you’re a hiring manager, posting a job listing on our website is free. Please consider this when planning recruitment.
Subscribe to our newsletters. We frequently send out emails highlighting available roles.
We’d also like to highlight that we feature member stories on our blog and publish opinion pieces to provide different perspectives on health information roles. One of these is “Seamless and growing interconnectivity in health care: The role of registration clerks” by Laura Krawec, CHIM, on medical administration roles.
We want to emphasize the importance of our certified professionals being hired for their competencies and the hard work it took to achieve and maintain this status. One of the ways we do this is by providing them with exclusive access to benefits that enhance their status.
We encourage retired professionals who wish to re-enter the workforce to consider recertifying to become professional members and access the job board.
Student members can prepare for the CHIM NCE with a new practice examination and reference the career matrix. Once a student is a certified professional member, they gain access to the job board.
If you are active in the workforce and want to leverage your professional certification, then you are not retired and should remain a professional member. Maintaining your certification is not linked to your employment status (e.g., consulting, full-time, part-time, contract, unemployed, volunteering, etc.). A retired member is a person who is no longer active in the workforce in any capacity.
Please note that certification maintenance includes CPE requirements, adherence to the College code of ethics, and an annual membership renewal with CHIMA. Your certification signals to employers that you are well prepared to handle Canadians’ most sensitive and intimate data.
Please read more about this on Page 11 of the 2021–2022 Accountability Report.
During the pandemic, there was an accelerated use of digital technologies and a rise in virtual care, and electronic health records systems had to be implemented or advanced for this purpose. This rise in the use of digital technologies revealed that data and health systems continue to be siloed across Canada, whether in acute care, public health, or for-profit companies.
In an education session, “Reimagining health data use: Overcoming the blues,” Dr. Affleck reviews exciting, new efforts in Canada to reimagine health data use for the digital age and considers the growing importance of health information professionals at decision-making tables.
In our accountability report, we talk about this progress, our growing partner ecosystem, and the government acknowledging the importance of health data and information.
CHIMA and the College are actively involved, ensuring organizations are fully integrated with our partners, such as CIHI, to support the upscaling of skills for those in the workforce with regard to ICD-11.
We’ve considered ICD-11’s impact on coding and classification in Canada through consultations. Given its complexity and scope, we expect coding roles to become more computer-assisted with our competencies transitioning to data quality and analysis, information curation, and data interpretation. This expectation underpins our new standards for the CHIM designation across our academic ecosystem.
More critical thinking will be required in these roles to inform insights and decision-making. Therefore, we urge existing coders to look to our professional development offerings in data analytics, computer-assisted coding, and information governance. You may also wish to consider other professional credentials offered by the College, CCDIS (CDI) or CCCS (Coding Specialist), to advance your credibility.
If you aren’t in the profession yet, please visit the College’s ‘Join the profession’ page, where we showcase the pathways for high school students, professionals changing careers, recent graduates, international professionals, and more.
If you are in the profession and want to deepen your knowledge and become an HIM leader, we recommend looking to the program directory. Universities and colleges have shown a significant interest in offering accredited certificate, diploma, and degree programs.
With these additional educational opportunities now available, we see members returning to school, obtaining degrees, and bringing their certification into new roles across the broader practice area of health information.
Formal education isn’t the only option. Please take advantage of the abundant professional development offerings shared through CHIMA’s learning centre. Last year alone, there were over 100 education sessions, professional practice briefs, and events promoted through CHIMA.
We’ve seen a great uptake of our CHIMA Annual Team Learning Subscription, otherwise known as ATLS. This subscription allows your organization’s employees to have a greater knowledge of health information management in Canada. It enables cost-effective education for health care professionals, provides quality and timely content delivered by subject matter experts, and inspires staff to connect and discuss topics of interest they have learned. Opportunities, such as virtual HIP Week passes, are included in this subscription at no cost to the employees. Please speak with your manager and introduce them to us if you think this could benefit your organization.
We have designed the survey to better understand the current state of the health information profession and the value CHIMA provides its members. We want to ensure CHIMA has the data necessary to advocate for higher pay, greater visibility of the profession, and career stability for the future.
Combining the survey results with the data we captured to inform the new strategic plan will provide a holistic view of the profession. Understanding the as-is state will help us to identify trends for the future. It will also help us communicate with members, employers, and other interested parties about the value of certified health information professionals.
We have dedicated members of our CHIMA team working exclusively on partnerships and external relations because we recognize the critical importance of communicating the value of certified health information professionals.
From these efforts, health information professionals are being invited and are sitting at the table with decision-makers such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, Technation’s board of directors, and many others.
We are establishing partnerships as a key priority and one of our strategic directions. The goal is to expand our offerings for our professional members and ensure they have numerous employment opportunities.
For some employers, the desire to have certification standards in health information literacy has increased dramatically. This is evident in the number of job listings we’ve received over the last fiscal year.
Our new CHIMA practice and chapter communities allow members to co-author the profession’s future through inclusive working groups. The communities will provide the association with real-time information so that we can bring national attention to provincial matters.
Your participation in these communities gives you an opportunity to share your regional perspectives and experiences through this national platform provided by CHIMA. For example, the CHIMA Information Governance Community meeting this July was facilitated by Eric Sutherland, the executive director for the pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy with the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Our clinical documentation improvement and terminology standards communities, and upcoming medical coding community will provide similar opportunities.
If you would like to volunteer to lead a working group on a topic, please start by attending the chapter or practice community meetings, where we will begin to shape this new approach to engagement for members.
In-person events will start this fall, pending a safety assessment of the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, October 18, 2022, an in-person Manitoba and Nunavut (MBNU) chapter education day will take place at the RBC Convention Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Our MBNU community facilitator and event working group are starting to plan the education day. Save the date and visit echima.ca/events/ for updates.
Yes, numerous professional development and networking opportunities are available with your membership.
This year, HIP Week 2022 will hold from October 17 to 21. We look forward to bringing you discussions on advancements in the profession, offerings from industry leaders, opportunities to network, and more. Passes are on sale at $299 for the public, $149 for CHIMA members, $65 for CHIMA student members and free for members with an ATLS.
In addition to HIP week and the MBNU in-person chapter education day, there are many other events listed on our calendar. This July, our chapters and practice communities will be hosting community meetings worth 1 to 1.5 CPE credits. Many working groups will be formed where our professional members can additionally earn 3 CPE credits per group. Members are encouraged to attend.
We have more content on data analytics and a campaign to highlight the importance of cancer-related data through cancer agencies, registries, and treatment centres coming to you soon.
We want to emphasize the benefits of being subscribed to our email communications, which include receiving our monthly CHIMA Connection newsletters. These communications contain information about new and exciting opportunities available for members.
The CHIM designation is written into many job roles. However, we encourage you to explore other opportunities that don’t recognize the designation yet and use this occasion to explain why certification matters. You can also highlight and reference the competencies you possess with respect to information governance, data quality, analytics, technology, clinical knowledge, and privacy. You can leverage the wording we provide through the cchim.ca website to help.
The number and variety of roles available to you are increasing, and there are more organizations than ever seeking a certified professional in health information.
As a student or non-certified graduate, you can review CHIMA’s career matrix to learn about existing roles. Stories being shared on the blog also provide you with a broad view of where health information professionals have accelerated their careers in the health sector and beyond.
We always encourage students and recent graduates to attend networking sessions hosted by CHIMA. This is a great way to make connections, find job leads, and propel your career.
The simple answer is yes.
The first step toward the next publication was the modernization of the curricular standards. Our consultation efforts have finished, and these new standards are now being socialized with our current and new academic programs.
We are now moving into the next step to discover the best format and curate contributors for the book.
Look out for opportunities to get involved. Updates will be posted through the College news page and the CHIMA connection newsletter.
There has been a significant effort by the organization to reduce overhead costs by including automation in our online platforms. This ensures we are solving the right problems through structured design processes and waste elimination. Although this takes more time, it ensures we keep costs in line.
This change in approach has allowed us to open more inclusive working groups and practice structures across the country for our College and Association. It has also allowed us to maintain member-oriented services like live chat and continue to advance projects that add value to membership.
There are two fees included in your annual professional certified membership fee:
- Your CHIMA membership
- Your certification license fee to the Canadian College of Health Information Management
We show the relationship between the association and the College on page 11 of the 2021–2022 accountability report.
The certification you hold is with the Canadian College of Health Information Management, not CHIMA. The College is a national, not-for-profit corporation that sets the accreditation standards for educational institutions and certification standards for health information professionals in Canada. The College protects the public interest by governing and regulating the professional practice of more than 4,600 certified health information member registrants. There is a growing recognition of health information as the College advances its professionalization and acknowledgment as a critical driver of policy, funding, and Canadians’ care.
The board has had several discussions and received expert opinions on this. Currently, we are a non-statutory, self-regulated profession. A range of different structures is open to us because it’s not simply a choice to regulate or not.
Think of the choice as movement along a pathway or continuum. Regardless of the outcome, a key first step is increasing the influence and legitimacy of our profession with government agencies across Canada. Therefore our strategic direction on partnerships is critical and why the advancement to build bridges with government agencies is essential. This approach also yields immediate value to our members. It increases the organization’s brand awareness and the profession’s legitimacy, advances job prospects, and makes us more present at decision-making tables.
Advanced in the past months is the third report of the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy Expert Advisory Group with recommendations regarding health information management in the country. We encourage you to review page 31, which lists a summary of recommendations and immediate actions.
While geography is one element of the selection criteria, other factors determine the makeup of the board of directors. The board uses a skills matrix to map the directors’ skills and attributes. The skills matrix considers several categories, including values, representation, education, and the scope of experience and knowledge in areas like finance, organizational governance, industry, strategy development, law, and human resources.
Also, a director’s tenure is a maximum of six years. In that timeframe, a director may move to a different province. Many of the directors have working experience in multiple jurisdictions in Canada, regardless of where they currently reside.
Yes, we are considering the possibility of more certifications. We will be looking to our practice communities to help advance these efforts through working groups with CHIMA and College.