Welcome to the Lounge!

The AHDI Lounge is an exchange blog for dialogue and discussion around trends, drivers, and challenges facing the healthcare documentation profession and a place for AHDI members to address these issues. It's just a spot for busy MTs, editors, educators, students, managers, and service owners to chat about the profession. So grab a latte and join us!

About AHDI

AHDI (Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity) is the world's largest professional society representing the healthcare documentation sector. Our purpose is to set standards for education and practice in the field of health data capture that ensure the highest level of accuracy, privacy, and security for the US healthcare system.

AHDI Lounge has Moved!

AHDI has moved both the AHDI Lounge and our District Director blogs to a new site, where the most up-to-date information, industry trends, news, and discussions can happen all in one place! Visit your District Director's web page often or subscribe to our feed. Not sure which district you are in? Click here to find out.

We hope you will join us at our new AHDI Lounge site: www.AHDILounge.org


AHDI 2011-2012 Year in Review

As I close out my year as President of the AHDI National Leadership Board , many important accomplishments come to the forefront. This year we continued to see tumultuous changes in our industry, but I also saw a great sense of optimism and enthusiasm in the possibilities that lie ahead. We have the results of our Future Roles Survey (a joint effort with Bentley University), which do indicate that there is a future for healthcare documentation specialists. While traditional transcription (followed by back-end speech recognition) is still the predominant method of document creation, the survey results demonstrated that healthcare documentation specialists are performing other tasks in the EHR: entering discrete data into specific patient encounters, providing end-user training, creating physician templates, enter narrative for a given patient encounter, and ensuring accuracy and completeness of the record. This is great news! The Association will continue to stay on top of new and emerging positions to help support awareness, resources, and training opportunities of our workforce.

During this past year a group of educators and dedicated volunteers, led by Kathy Nicholls, CMT, AHDI-F, spent countless hours reviewing and updating the AHDI Model Curriculum to reflect our changing roles, and we are proud to have recently launched the 5th edition. These volunteers also developed a companion implementation guide—the eSource for Healthcare Documentation Instructors: A Vital Resource for Users of the AHDI Model Curriculum—to help our schools move forward in their effort to adopt the new program.

One of the highlights of the year for me personally was moving to the new career title “healthcare documentation specialist” to serve as an umbrella for the many activities we perform in our chosen profession: traditional transcription, speech editor, QA, EHR trainer, EHR analyst, and the list goes on. Many of the new roles are being created without a title, without a road map or perhaps even a job description. Our world is quickly changing.

The Board approved the development of an externship program to offer new graduates opportunities for obtaining practical experience. MTSOs and hospitals want to offer externship programs, but the overarching questions are how to make such a program cost effective for their organization and provide a meaningful experience for the extern. A white paper is being developed and we’ll have more information to come.

The Board is working to improve overall communication in more frequent member engagement, given the new governance structure. National Hometown Advocacy Week was introduced as a new concept for 2012. The Board also approved our newly revised Strategic Initiatives. One of our most important initiatives this year is a position paper reflecting the added value healthcare documentation specialists can bring to EHR adoption and that pay models must be changed to reflect the new roles, which may not be amenable to production pay. The position paper was launched at ACE and personally discussed by our volunteer leaders with managers/supervisors, business owners, and practitioners.

Our ACE theme this year of “Spark Your Growth” was the culmination with many hours of planning by both AHDI staff and member volunteers. Our theme was one of looking to the future, with sessions focusing on newly created roles in the electronic health record, coding for MTs, computerized-assisted coding, clinical documentation improvement and ICD 10, self-assessment, resume writing, and many others. We had many excellent clinical speakers who were affiliated with Indiana University College of Medicine and the Indianapolis area hospitals. Regina Holliday as our opening keynote delivered a powerful message that spoke to many of us personally and gave meaning to what we do in our daily tasks surrounding healthcare documentation.

At ACE, there was an aura of cautious optimism about our future, and I would remind us all that AHDI is here to serve our members and our profession to move us through this change.

Sherry Doggett
AHDI President, 2011-2012

AHDI - Mountain States Regional Meeting 9/15/12 in Colorado Springs!

Hey save the date, make the reservation, attend the meeting and make some new friends while continuing your education. I have pasted the link for you below. Room rates are 89.00 and AHDI members 50.00 registration. Can't beat it. If you can get to Colorado Springs for this meeting or you know someone who can, please spread the news. Here’s the link: http://ahdi-msr.org/2012/07/first-ever-ahdi-mountain-states-regional-meeting/ Let's do what we can to support the regions in our district. Hope you can make it. Bonnie J. Monico, CMT, AHDI-F District 2, Director 402-330-0293 B.Monico@Cox.net

Newly Elected National Leadership Board Members Announced

The results are in! AHDI is proud to announce three newly elected at-large directors to the National Leadership Board with terms beginning September 1, 2012 through August 31, 2015:

Jo-Ann Clarke, CMT
Susan Dooley, CMT, AHDI-F
Tamorah Moore, CMT, AHDI-F

Thank you, elected leaders and candidates, for your commitment to excellence and support of the Association through advocacy, standards-setting, and education. Thank you also to the AHDI members who took the time to cast your votes and help to shape the future of the association and industry. On behalf of the AHDI members, Board of Directors, and staff, we congratulate you!

Visit the AHDI website for more information.

Broadening Our Horizons, Broadening Our Name

In August 2006, the AAMT House of Delegates voted to change our name to Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity and open membership up to a broader sector of healthcare professionals involved in healthcare documentation and data capture. Then CEO Peter Preziosi, PhD, CAE, had stated: "The greatest opportunities for improving health and healthcare lie in enabling information exchange across healthcare facilities. By broadening the scope of the association's mission, building stronger alliances between clinical information specialists and documentation experts, and promoting a new brand for the association to our healthcare publics, we have a greater opportunity for obtaining increased relevance in a transforming marketplace." 1

With implementation of the electronic health record, we have already seen MTs transition to become abstractors, medical record editors, chart analysts, healthcare informaticians, and many others, as shown in our newly released EHR Future Roles survey. "While some things cannot be predicted, most experts agree that the demand for data integrity will only increase, creating an opportunity for the risk-management skill set of the medical transcriptionist."

As our roles in healthcare documentation evolve and the range of services medical transcriptionists are able to offer broaden, a natural next step is to position ourselves for these changing roles. This can take shape in a variety of ways, and as your professional association, we are promoting a new umbrella title—healthcare documentation specialists—to help shift perceptions in the marketplace on the value, skills, and body of knowledge we bring to the table. In essence, we're encouraging a rebranding of the medical transcriptionist title to help shed any erroneous perceptions and to promote our vital role in preserving the integrity of healthcare documentation among hospital administrators, physicians, clinicians, EHR vendors, employers, and consumers.

What is a healthcare documentation specialist?
The broad and extensive responsibilities and services performed by healthcare documentation specialists serve critical roles in the creation of accurate and comprehensive patient care records. The healthcare documentation specialist, also called medical transcriptionist, understands medical language, clinical practice, and the basics of health IT, with résumés and credentials attesting to that expertise. The healthcare documentation specialist is well versed in the requirements of HIPAA and HITECH, and the workflow and processes in clinical documentation. At the front of the healthcare documentation continuum, healthcare documentation specialists apply their knowledge and expertise to perform a variety of roles in patient data capture.

A healthcare documentation specialist includes medical transcription practice. All expanded roles must begin with the core knowledge and skill set of what we have always called medical transcription. The title healthcare documentation specialist encompasses individuals who build on the core knowledge and skills to follow varied career paths. Many schools and programs are taking steps to enhance their approach to career preparation for students of healthcare documentation. To some extent, then, the title healthcare documentation specialist recognizes not only new realities of the workplace but also evolving thinking among educators.

To that end, we encourage an open mind to the change in and use of terminology that encompasses multiple specialty roles under one umbrella. The Credentialing Development Team, the governing body for AHDI's credentials, is exploring possible future name changes to the RMT and CMT credentials. For now, the RMT and CMT remain unchanged. Furthermore, AHDI is currently developing a position paper on the value of healthcare documentation specialists and equitable compensation practices. With an anticipated release at ACE 2012 in early August, stay tuned to AHDI communications for the announcement of its availability.

Additional Reading: ADVANCE magazine titled "What's in a Name: You Might be Surprised", Cynthia Alder, RHIT, CDIP, CMT, AHDI-F.3

Send to Your Contacts: Press Release – AHDI Introduces Healthcare Documentation Specialist Title

  1. AAMT to Change its Name, Purpose and Structure to Promote Integrity in Healthcare Documentation. August 2006. http://ahdionline.org/Portals/0/downloads/PressRelease081006.pdf 
  2. Healthcare and the Electronic IT Revolution web page. EHR Readiness Toolkit. Accessed January 12, 2012. http://www.ahdionline.org/ProfessionalPractices/IndustryNewsTrends/ElectronicHealthRecord/tabid/267/Default.aspx
  3. What's in a Name: You Might be Surprised. Cynthia Alder. Advance for Health Information Professionals. 26 April 2012. http://health-information.advanceweb.com/Columns/AHDI-Track/Whats-in-a-Name-You-Might-be-Surprised.aspx.
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