At the CHIMA and the Canadian College of Health Information Management Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on June 22, 2023, 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.
Our College focuses on ensuring the supply chain of talent meets industry demand, acting as a bridge between prospective professionals and vast cross-sector opportunities. The College has created educational and experiential pathways so that those interested in pursuing or advancing their careers have various avenues to become educated on health information and become certified. We are actively doing ad campaigns on social media to encourage people to learn more about the profession and take advantage of the pathways available to become certified.
We reach out to various educational institutions across Canada to communicate the value of national standards and certification, and we work with those interested to accredit their health information programs. Accreditation demonstrates to the public that a program is aligned with industry standards, as identified through the College’s needs assessment and consultation with industry. The purpose of accrediting programs is to ensure continuous quality improvement of the educational content to support the evolving health information industry.
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. Additionally, the College website contains a program directory that showcases our growing list of accredited education partners.
Through the growth of our proud partnerships, we are able to provide the College Educational Resources Program (CERP). This program connects the resources, frameworks, and standards developed by CIHI and other organizations with the certified professionals
managing Canadians’ health information. CERP currently provides faculty and students at subscribing educational institutions with access to the CIHI eStore, including ICD-10-CA/CCI Folio Views (1-user license), the CIHI Learning Centre, and CIHI eQuery. This year we expanded the resources offered to include CIHI’s Discharge Abstract Database (DAD) research analytic files. This enables our academic partners to leverage data students will be working with upon graduation. When an educational institution becomes a CERP subscriber, it gains access to valuable resources. These resources are made accessible institution-wide for all faculty members and students to benefit from.
We ensure that student members are prepared to write the CHIM national certification exam (NCE) with our new official CHIM practice examination. Professional practice briefs (PPBs) and quizzes are also available.
Recently, we provided a more efficient entry into certification. The new proctoring solution (implemented in January 2023) is an online, automated proctoring service that leverages artificial intelligence. It provides a turnkey user experience for candidates and enables a quicker delivery of examination results. This improvement reduces the wait time between examination sitting and certification by up to four weeks.
We have made the CHIMA job board accessible to additional membership types. Our student members now have read-only access to our job board. This is a great opportunity for them to see real-world jobs, practicum and co-op opportunities, and career pathways in the health information profession. Our student members can also reference our career matrix. Once a student is a certified professional member, they gain full access to the job board.
In relation to the academic standards set by the College, we have reflected on what a practicum is and have redefined it to broaden its focus on lived experience, allowing students to be given credit for part-time work, paid coops, and so on.
We’ve been connecting students to HIM professionals and leaders in the field through their inclusion and participation in our Chapter Education Days. Our commitment to our academic community by holding a number of events on the campuses of some of our accredited programs has been welcomed. These networking opportunities help connect our students with professionals and employers in their communities.
Subscribe to our newsletters to remain informed on our initiatives and opportunities available to you.
Through our advocacy and awareness campaigns for the profession and the 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.
We believe the health information profession will continue to advance as different sectors accelerate their digital health infrastructure. Especially due to the pandemic, we see increased demand across sectors, industries, and organizations for the competencies and skills found within our profession. Our certified professional members are being recruited into traditional practice areas such as classification and coding, records management, privacy, and release of information as well as new areas like research and analysis, data quality, informatics, and more.
Outside of acute care, there are roles in primary care, public health, and long-term care. There is also a growing importance of information governance as a practice area. In addition, as many of our members know, many opportunities now exist outside the health system, where some of our members are working with tech companies, in animal welfare, and even in the justice sector.
Ensure you’re looking for job opportunities inside and outside the health system.
Also, as most professions are, we are facing a retirement curve. This curve will open up opportunities for new entrants into the profession.
Subscribe to our newsletters. We frequently send out emails highlighting available roles.
Yes. 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.
This year, our team deepened existing relationships while securing collaboration with new partners. This includes endorsement of standards and certifications by CIHI, relationships with the Canadian College of Health leaders, and many other organizations. Through this, we continue to broaden our partnerships as we communicate the value of the profession and advocate for the role of certified health information professionals in health care and beyond. It is a key priority for us. For some employers, the appetite for certification standards in health literacy has increased dramatically. For others, they still need to notice and advance to keep pace with the changing roles within the profession. The number of listings on our job board for CHIM professionals is proof that this is working.
Our partnerships also allow us to expand our offerings for our professional members. We work with academic, industry, and community partners within Canada and internationally to advance the health information profession and equip the profession’s learners with the competencies and skills to enter the workforce.
These efforts have led to recognition by key health systems organizations such as CIHI and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Being at decision-making tables with organizations like this demonstrates that we are wanted and needed in health data conversations. It also grants us the necessary insight to position our members for success as we move into the future.
Organizations across Canada are deepening and expanding the use of certified health information professionals for a broad range of roles.
To connect our members to job opportunities, CHIMA has been building partnerships and sitting at the table on advisory groups to educate people about the profession. These efforts are being made to connect our profession with career opportunities.
Through our new website, we’ve increased accessibility for members to be able to explore and learn about the future. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have opened up our job board to provide free job listings, ensuring employers across the country have easy access to the talent they’re looking for in our CHIMs. In the past year, 271 jobs were listed on our job board by 174 employers.
Our professional members have full access to our CHIMA job board. Please stay up to date with our job board by going to echima.ca and reviewing the various roles and opportunities listed.
If you’re a hiring manager, posting a job listing on our website is free. Please consider this when planning recruitment. Another thing you can do to connect yourself with job opportunities is to join our community meetings and Education Days across the country. These events are an opportunity to meet, network, and become known by other professionals and potential employers in your local area.
The first step toward the next publication was modernizing the curricular standards. Next, we determined the best format for the book. The College is producing a learning series which will include digital and print books (Suite) for our modernized health information fundamentals, HIM diploma, and HIM degree standards. The Suite will be composed of the practice areas found within the Health Information Fundamentals Curricular Standards and will prepare candidates for the CHIM NCE.
We are now moving onto the next step and are actively curating contributors to join us in producing the first installment of the series—data quality. Your valuable professional experience and dedication to the profession are crucial to advance knowledge within the profession.
We invite you to collaborate with us as a Suite contributor or reviewer. Contributors and reviewers will work independently to draft or review assigned content from July through November 2023. This collaboration will provide an opportunity for you to give back to the health information profession and secure its future for upcoming professionals. Volunteers will be duly acknowledged for their contributions. If you are interested, please let us know by contacting us through live chat or the contact form.
Our new CHIMA practice and chapter communities allow members to co-author the profession’s future through inclusive working groups. The communities provide the association with real-time information so that we can bring national attention to provincial matters.
Your participation in our chapter communities gives you an opportunity to share your regional perspectives and experiences through this national platform provided by CHIMA. Our practice communities, like our clinical documentation improvement and medical coding community, 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. Our new working groups are formed through these communities.
The Canadian College of Health Information Management (CCHIM) conducted extensive industry and academic consultations from 2018 to 2022. Through the consultations, we determined that the legacy academic standards (LOHIM 2015 V3) no longer met the needs of the industry due to increasing complexity within the medical coding practice across Canada. More specifically, the industry required more certified medical coders to enter the workforce and a resolution of widely recognized entry-to-practice competency gaps. CHIMA and the College are actively involved, ensuring organizations are fully integrated with our partners, such as CIHI, to support upscaling skills for those in the workforce.
With the introduction of modernized general standards in 2022, we have the opportunity to build a complementary set of medical coding academic standards that support training beyond the basic competence required. With coding becoming more computer-assisted, we also have the opportunity to recognize growing opportunities in roles like data quality and analysis, information curation, and data interpretation.
Our new standards set us up to create badges and micro-credentials for different coding practice areas, like oncology or cancer coding, to add to the basic building block of our general standards.
The health information profession has been reimagined due to the increased demand for health data and an awareness of the critical decisions this data can help inform. The competencies within our new curricular standards can help eliminate silos in our health systems and put a person at the center of their health information.
We encourage you to read the 2023–2028 strategic plan. It is a road map that supports our professionals, guides our partnership engagements, and strengthens the quality of care received from coast to coast to coast.
Think of the new standards as building blocks. The basic building blocks create space for our accredited programs in schools across the country to add additional blocks as the profession grows. For example, combining our HIM diploma standards with what we are advancing in medical coding. It’s that additional space that provides the opportunity for programs to dive deeper into concentration areas for the benefit of the students.
Our newly launched community platform will help our communities and working groups provide transparency to what is going on in each region of the country, and it is one of the reasons we’re really pleased to be announcing this launch. Furthermore, our annual accountability report provides detailed information on the use of funds and the value the organization is bringing to its members and to the profession. In addition, our bi-annual chapter community meetings and Chapter Education Days help members to stay connected with new initiatives.
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.
Yes. You can renew your membership for 2024 now and up until December 31, 2023, and it will advance your membership at the 2023 pricing. All members who choose to pay their 2024 membership by December 31, 2023, will receive the 2023 pricing.
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
The certification you hold is with the Canadian College of Health Information Management, not CHIMA. Our 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 our health information member registrants. There is a growing recognition, as the College advances the professionalization of health information and the acknowledgment of the profession, that it is a critical driver of policy, funding, and Canadians’ care.
The Organization is continually offering more ways to stay relevant in an ever-changing industry. CHIMA professional membership dues aid the College’s investment in the development and maintenance of health information curricular standards, program
accreditations, educational pathways, certifications, and more. Membership with CHIMA, your association, provides access to the latest professional development resources, networking opportunities, important industry news, visibility to career opportunities, and exclusive offers for its members. Please read our accountability reports, which provide you with detailed accounts of our annual organizational accomplishments. We show the relationship between the Association and the College on Page 9 of the 2022–2023 Accountability Report and discuss the significance of your certification on Page 10 of the report.
When CHIMA grows, the profession grows.
Your work as a certified health information professional has never been more critical to the delivery of quality, person-centred care. Together, the CHIMA community of certified professionals has an opportunity to shape the future of this profession and make an even more visible impact across the country.
Make sure to renew your professional CHIMA membership quickly to take advantage of the 2023 pricing. 2024 pricing begins in January. Your certification demonstrates your commitment to ongoing learning and improvement. It strengthens your career and, ultimately, health care across Canada.
The organization collects an annual fee from its members in return for an active membership status with the association. Those holding a professional membership pay an integrated license fee from the Canadian College of Health Information Management, one requirement for holding your professional certification. We are pleased to share that we will be maintaining existing membership fees for student, affiliate, and professional members for the duration of 2023. Professional members who renew next year’s membership before the end of this calendar year will receive the current price. 2024 pricing starts in January.
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. In line with good governance, new directors are periodically nominated to refresh the Organization’s governance with new ideas and experiences. Therefore, the Board Nominations Committee is currently seeking nominations of qualified candidates to join this dynamic group of leaders to shape the health information profession nationally. You can find more information at echima.ca to apply.
Currently, we are a non-statutory, self-regulated profession, and a range of structures is open to us because it is not simply a choice to regulate or not.
We have had several discussions at the board level on this and have received expert opinions. A key first step is increasing the influence and legitimacy of our profession with government agencies across Canada. Therefore our strategic direction on building solid partnerships with government agencies is critical. This approach increases the organization’s brand awareness, creating room for us at decision-making tables and yielding immediate value to our members through increasing job opportunities in health care and beyond. The reports of the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy Expert Advisory Group have recommendations regarding health information management in the country. These reports are available on our College website.
Yes, we have numerous online offerings and in-person events this year. Check out our events page at echima.ca for more information on dates, times, and registration.
HIP Week – Knowledge Made Visible is occurring this fall from October 16 to 20, where you can dive deeper into relevant practice areas, connect with CHIMA’s professional communities, and contribute to the profession’s increasing visibility. Go to hipweek.ca for further information on programming.
For upcoming in-person events, we have Chapter Education Days set up for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nunavut, and Ontario. The rest of the regional events have occurred this year.
Please subscribe to our email communications so that you can receive monthly CHIMA Connection newsletters. They contain information about all the new and exciting opportunities available for members that the team has been working to provide for you. Also, if your organization is signed up for a CHIMA Annual Team Learning Subscription, you will be able to gain access to many virtual events and content available in our learning management system at no cost to you.
Although there are a growing number of job opportunities in the field, we understand that securing a role can take some time. There are things that stand out to employers, and the CHIM designation is becoming a differentiator across sectors.
Choosing an accredited program for your education is important. Accreditation demonstrates a program’s alignment with industrystandards, and graduating from an accredited institution signals to employers that you are adequately educated to meet modern standards.
Another important consideration is certification. Professional members are certified by the College and hold one or more professional designations. By use of these designations, professional members distinguish themselves as equipped to ensure an organization is well prepared to handle Canadians’ most sensitive and intimate data. Our certifications continue to signal to employers that a health information professional is credible and has a demonstrated commitment to the industry.
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. This is evident in the number of job listings we’ve received over the last fiscal year. However, we encourage you to explore other opportunities that don’t recognize the designation yet and use this occasion to explain why certification matters. Highlight and reference the competencies you possess with respect to information governance, data quality, analytics, technology, clinical knowledge, and privacy. You can also leverage the wording we provide through the cchim.ca website to help. We also encourage you to find out about alternative and unique job opportunities in the health information field.
With CIHI and Infoway’s endorsements of our standards and certifications, your certification matters more than ever before. These endorsements are a significant recognition of the impact of the profession and highlight the opportunity to leverage the College’s modernized standards and certification approach to prepare a new generation to meet the needs of a world-class health data system.
We always encourage attendance at our CHIMA-hosted community events. This is a great way to make connections, find job leads, and propel your career.
Numerous professional development and networking opportunities are available with your membership. Please take advantage of these by attending our events. Through these events, you can be part of ongoing conversations and offer your time and energy through our working groups.
This year, HIP Week 2023 will hold from October 16 to 20. We look forward to bringing you discussions on advancements in the profession, offerings from industry leaders, opportunities to network, and more.
In addition to HIP week, there are many other events listed on our events calendar. Our chapter and practice communities will be hosting their semi-annual community meetings worth 1 to 1.5 CPE credits. Members are encouraged to attend. Many working groups are being formed, where our professional members can additionally earn CPE credits per group.
Please subscribe to our email communications, which include our monthly CHIMA Connection newsletters. These communications contain information about new and exciting opportunities available for members. Again, ATLS subscribers can gain access to the resources in our learning management system without charge.
Certified health information management professionals can be found across sectors in health care, insurance, education, or business. All of you in the audience take on many roles throughout the data and information lifecycle with respect to Canadians’ health journeys.
The CHIM designation’s credibility is expanding, and this is bringing decision-makers to us to ensure the expertise of the health information professional is included when decisions are being made. Stemming from that increased credibility are increased job opportunities and career expansion for our professional members who desire to take on these new opportunities.
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 been very active in curating professional development offerings, and our communities help to bring more. Visit the CHIMA learning center to access them.
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. 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.
If you are looking for formal education, there has been significant interest from universities and colleges, and many are now working with our College to advance and explore accredited certificate, diploma, and degree-level programs. This expands the career progression pathways available to future members and allows our professional members to qualify and compete for high-level positions within the health care sector and beyond if they so choose. So if you are in the profession and want to deepen your knowledge and become an HIM leader, we recommend looking at the program directory. To hear about all of these opportunities, ensure you are subscribed to the CHIMA Connection newsletter that is sent at the end of each month, and if you are on social media, you can tune in on those channels as well.