Celebrating 75 Years of Evolution


The Canadian Health Information Management Association (CHIMA) is proud to announce their 75th anniversary!

CHIMA has been the Health Information Management professional’s national association for 75 years, and we continue to support the certified HIM professionals who play an essential role in the health care system today. HIM professionals are a key resource to the success of the health care system, and support  high quality data and information for health care planning and delivery; decision making (clinical, administrative, and financial); and the privacy, confidentiality, and security of the health record in all media and formats.  

CHIMA has two (2) distinct components:

  • the Canadian College of Health Information Management (CCHIM), which set the curricular standards, administers the certification examination, maintains the registry for all certified candidates, and recognizes and accredits all academic centres that offer the HIM diploma and undergraduate programs ; and
  • CHIMA, the association, which represents the membership at pan-Canadian and international forums, and, together with its Chapters, provides HIM expertise for the health care industry. 

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 Health Information Management (HIM) professional’s role 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. 

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; health record administrator, and health record practitioner; to HIM professional.  Many new roles have evolved due to changes in technology and health care reform; many of these new roles are outlined in the Workforce Transformation Report.

As we celebrate this significant milestone, our ‘diamond jubilee’, it is important to take time to reflect on the strength of the HIM profession and consider our bright future.  

Stay tuned for more information regarding upcoming CHIMA 75th anniversary celebrations!

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

The following table highlights a few of our key accomplishments and changes to date.

− 1942 Canadian Medical Record Association of Librarians (CAMRL) established

− 1943 American Association presents CAMRL with Ebony Gavel

− 1949 Letter Patent received for CAMRL

− 1950 – The CAMRL Bulletin was established

− 1955 – 300-400 Active Members

− 1957 introduction of Joint Commission on Accreditation.

− 1960’s the College was established

− 1970’s HIM role expanded using International Classification Diseases (ICD) 

− 1972 Canadian College of Health Record Administrators was incorporated with its own Letters Patent to grant credentials and assess the state of HIM education in Canada.

− 1976 Association and College combined under one Board

− 1976 Name change from CAMRL to Canadian Health Records Association (CHRA) to incorporate a broader definition of the patient record beyond a medical focus.

− 1992 Celebrate 50th Anniversary 

− 1999 Pinnacle Award Established 

− 2003 CHRA changed name to Canadian Health Information Management Association 

− Brand/marketing program to strengthen membership.

− Growth in membership from <2,500 to 5,000 members

− 2007 aligned College name with CHIMA to Canadian College of Health Information Management (CCHIM)

− 2007 Celebrated 65th Anniversary

− Learning Outcomes for Health Record Education updated to Learning Outcomes for HIM

− Re-introduction of HIM undergraduate programming

− 2012 Evolve the College initiative 

− 2012 Workforce Transformation – redefine HIM Roles.

− 2014 HIM Masters curricular content developed 2015 CHIMA Rebranded (new logo)

− 2016 Launch of Chapter Model (One Association with Chapters)

− One National Association with Chapters established

− Canadian HIM Lifecycle Guidelines Published

− Advanced Terminology Standards Curricular Established