Accreditation is a process used to ensure academic quality. When a university applies for accreditation and becomes accredited, a board of experts or a council (independent of the university) will review and continue to review the curriculum for years to come to make sure what is being taught meets current standards in that field of study. If standards are continually met, the university remains accredited.
Think of accreditation as “checks and balances” to maintain the highest quality of education that’s relevant and applicable to the workforce.
Each field of study has their own independent board of experts or council that issue accreditation to a university at an institution and program level.
The focus of this article is about CAHIIM accreditation for health informatics programs.
How Does CAHIIM Accreditation Benefit Health Informatics Programs?
CAHIIM accreditation gives students confidence that they are receiving the most relevant and top-quality education that puts them in the best position to excel in health informatics. Students may also gain a competitive advantage in the workforce since what is being taught is constantly being reviewed and updated to meet current industry standards.
There are also other benefits CAHIIM accredited health informatics programs offer:
- Learning industry required knowledge
- Faculty are field experts in health informatics and have been approved to teach
- Better job opportunities as healthcare companies prefer graduates from accredited health informatics programs
- Working with and learning the latest health informatics technology and software
How Does CAHIIM Evaluate Health Informatics Programs?
To meet CAHIIM health informatics accreditation standards, experts evaluate a program in a range of areas which include:
- Sponsorship – The educational institution offering the program must have accreditation by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education
- Systematic planning – This includes evaluation of the program’s mission and having measurable program outcomes that evaluate program effectiveness
- Program autonomy and governance – This includes evaluation of program leaders and faculty qualifications and performance
- Program curriculum – Curriculum is evaluated along many lines, including how it supports the program mission and whether it incorporates up-to-date information on health informatics issues and technology
What Does CAHIIM Stand For?
CAHIIM stands for The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education. CAHIM has a rich history that began through one woman’s efforts to organize all of the medical records stored at Treadwell Library at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
This noble act and dedication gave recognition to the importance of patient record integrity. At first, a standard curriculum and inspection procedure was put in place to ensure the integrity of patient record keeping. Then, over time, the standard curriculum and inspection procedure moved from one council to the next until eventually becoming “CAHIIM.” CAHIIM is a subsidiary of the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA).
What Is the History Behind CAHIIM?
In 1935, AHIMA (which went by a different name) began developing a curriculum model for medical record librarians. Today, this field of study is more commonly known as health information management or (HIM).
Health information management would eventually create the need for health informatics, which involves the process and tools used to record, store and analyze healthcare information.
As health informatics became a larger part of health information management, the AHIMA House of Delegates realized that the field of health information management was a strong and unique area of study. It was then decided that CAHIIM should have the ability to conduct and confirm actions concerning accreditation for all HIM programs and the growing field of health informatics (HI) was to be incorporated into that scope as well.
CAHIIM defines health informatics as an inter-professional specialty “at the confluence” of health, information science and technology, and social and behavioral science. CAHIIM lists health informatics as involving the use of data for clinical care, scientific inquiry, decision making and problem-solving that leads to improved patient health and safety.