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."2
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.
Send to Your Contacts: Press Release – AHDI Introduces Healthcare Documentation Specialist Title
- AAMT to Change its Name, Purpose and Structure to Promote Integrity in Healthcare Documentation. August 2006. http://ahdionline.org/Portals/0/downloads/PressRelease081006.pdf
- 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
- 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.