AHIMA apprenticeship standards certified

Certificate will help the industry meet the growing need for HIM professionals

The American Health Information Management Association’s National Guidelines for Apprenticeship Standards – recently certified by the Department of Labor – will help the industry meet urgent demands for highly-trained health information management and technology professionals, says AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon.

The DOL officially awarded the certification June 6 during the Healthcare Forward Summit: Roadmap to Building the Rural and Veteran Workforce, presented by AHIMA and the AHIMA Foundation.

The certification of the guidelines will help bridge the gap for graduating or post-certification students seeking a career in HIM through paid apprenticeships, which will provide a clear a pathway to full-time employment by prospective employers who offer the program through the DOL’s Employment and Training Administration. The job titles for which the guidelines were developed identify some of the fastest-growing career opportunities within HIM: hospital coder, clinical documentation improvement specialist, HIM business analyst and HIM data analyst. Additional positions will also be developed.

[See also: AHIMA launches career map for HIM pros.]

“The Department of Labor’s certifications of AHIMA’s guidelines not only highlights the value of the training and certifications AHIMA provides, but is a catalyst for the HIM profession to keep pace with the rapid use and growth of information technology needed for the 21st century healthcare workforce,” said Gordon, in announcing the certification June 6 at the the Healthcare Forward Summit.

“We’re especially pleased to be awarded this certification here during an important discussion about how best to fulfill existing and future demands in HIM.”

The summit convened thought leaders, innovators and stakeholders who are actively involved in technology workforce development to address the shortage of an educated and trained HIM/IT workforce in rural and underserved communities as well as increasing employment opportunities for U.S. veterans transitioning from military service to the civilian workforce.

During the summit, public and private sector leaders discussed best practices to map veterans’ skills attained during their service to skills needed for HIM/IT positions and identified educational gaps to be filled.

[See also: AHIMA touts HIT Pro exams as way to increase workforce.]

According to the HIT Workforce Shortage report by Computer Sciences Corporation, there is a need to increase the HIM/IT workforce by 38 percent to meet provider demands. For healthcare providers in rural areas, this is one of the top 10 issues in healthcare reform and of the 22 million veterans in the U.S. today, approximately 6.1 million live in rural areas.