AHIMA22 Overview and Takeaways

AHIMA22 Overview and Takeaways

AHIMA22 brought us to Columbus this year, the capital and heart of Ohio. It’s been three years since we’ve all been together and there was so much catching up to do! The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is the leading voice and authority in health information where the associated experts work at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business. Today more than ever, in an era where technology drives change and efficiencies on one hand and on the other hand increases the risk of interfering with privacy and security, managing the complexity of patient’s information is critical. Healthcare professionals must ensure that sensitive health stories remain accurate, accessible, protected, and complete at all times.

We all know the tremendous effects COVID had on our healthcare and the gaps it highlighted in our systems. It changed the workforce landscape with an increased need for healthcare professionals and the reality that jobs require more technical skills than ever before. AHIMA22 highlighted the emerging changes and responsibilities that healthcare information management professionals face today.

The conference kicked off with sessions on “Design Thinking for Innovation in Healthcare” and “What Does it Take to Become a Revenue Cycle Executive” and a marching band performance! There were over 40 in-person sessions led by health data experts and visionaries, new product tech demos in the exhibit hall, networking opportunities, and social events with over 3,00 attendees. Thinking back on all that I heard and witnessed at this convention, there are a few key takeaways I’d like to share:

Design Thinking for Innovation in Healthcare

This workshop kicked off the conference and set the tone for the rest of the week. Design thinking process is a theory that many startups and innovative companies use to solve real end user problems and it’s one of my favorite methods to use to develop user centric products. Design thinking is taught at top universities like Harvard and is adopted by brand name companies such as Apple, Google, and Samsung. It’s a 5-part problem solving approach you can apply in both your organization and your daily life. It centers around end user challenges and how to put aside limiting beliefs and our own perspectives to solve a problem based on observation and thinking outside the box.

“Healthcare requires continuous innovation to meet the needs of patients and providers,” says Mary Ann Sullivan, MA, CCMP, senior director, professional development and education operations and innovation at AHIMA. But important stakeholders are not always considered when new interventions or processes are designed. This can lead to products and services that do little more than gather dust, while the underlying issues remain unaddressed. “Design thinking,” Sullivan says, “can be used to improve clinician-patient workflows, healthcare spaces, customer service, and community programs.” In a healthcare landscape where there are so many silos, this methodology can be useful to bridge the gap and deliver real solutions that bring back the patient to the center of care.

Privacy and Security

AHIMA22 had top experts on information blocking, electronic health record vendor efforts to protect privacy and achieve interoperability, cyberthreats, and risks associated with the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT). There is an ongoing responsibility to understand and comply with laws that govern the privacy and security of health information. It’s important to learn unique security gaps and how to mitigate the IoMT risk as healthcare increases its use of devices that interact directly with patients. Furthermore, understanding the current drive to achieve an interoperable landscape requires heightened privacy and security.


The last several years was a turning point in healthcare with consumers finally empowered to make more informed decisions about their health. AHIMA22 included a focus on consumerism with sessions that offered incredible insight for health leaders to learn about new and emerging technologies and roles in health information that place the patient at the center of it all. Returning consumers to the center of patient care will impact healthcare for generations to come. Healthcare professionals can be both patient advocates and liaisons to help patients better understand the ever-changing environment. The pandemic has accelerated patients’ usage of health-related digital devices, which can provide more productivity, but also isolates the patient from human care. Healthcare professionals need to understand technology and find ways to humanize the experience.


There were many lectures and vendor demos of products related to data. Because we use the science of collected information to have predictable results in a complex system, more data can lead to more informative decision making. This is vital because health data, including population health information, must be accurate and trusted as many strategic and patient care decisions rely on it. Also, health data and data models have a significant impact on business intelligence and initiatives. It can shed light on gaps in the systems or reasons for failure in the workflows and showcase and inefficiencies. Data governance is the yellow brick road to health data integrity and must be followed to ensure the reliability of the data. Organizations seek to improve patient care and outcomes through the collection of Social Determinants of Health data. Health data lies at the center of interoperability and interoperability is the key to getting the right information at the right time to the right person. Here at Verisma, we have a leading data and analytics tool, that is easy to use and all the reports related to Release of Information can be customized in a easy to understand format to drive real engagement with the process of providing real and accurate health records.

It was interesting to flow between so many fascinating topics while acknowledging how much the role of Health Information Managers is changing. That’s why Verisma is changing ROI for a changing world. I look forward to showing you the new products and services we’re developing to support you!

If you or your colleagues plan to attend AHIMA’s virtual conference in November, don’t miss Verisma’s session on the top disclosure management trends.


AHIMA 22 Verisma Team
Verisma to Show Latest Advancements at AHIMA22

Verisma to Show Latest Advancements at AHIMA22

What’s New?

Pending HIPAA updates, rising labor costs, hybrid workforces, cyber security threats – the landscape of health informration management is changing and so are we! Visit us at booth #411 at AHIMA 2022 October 9-12 in Columbus, Ohio to see our latest advancements in automation: including:

  • Enhanced robotic processing
  • Self-service requests
  • Commercial audit management
  • Request intake
  • Radiology image request
  • Request monitoring and data intelligence

What Really Excites Us

Education, tradeshow booths, and dinners in the city are all part of the fun, but the real draw to events like this is simple – the people.

Do we hope you’ll remember our latest technology and awesome giveaways? Yes!

But most importantly, we hope you remember us. We can’t wait to meet you!

Managing Patient Requests for Amendments – One Health Systems’ Story

Managing Patient Requests for Amendments – One Health Systems’ Story

By Barbara Carr, RHIA

The 21st Century Cures Act’s goal of increasing information sharing and enabling patients to have their healthcare data delivered conveniently to their computers, cell phones, and mobile applications has increased privacy and security worries for many healthcare organizations. Having the right data security and processes in place to enable information sharing is forefront as this new era of patient access continues to drive a more educated and engaged patient population demanding governance over their health information. We can expect that the once rare occurrence of record amendment requests will soon be a regular activity that will need to be carefully and accurately managed.

Presently, the Patients’ Right to Access must be granted within 30 days regardless of record location (onsite vs. offsite), and regardless of media type. One 30-day extension applies but must be communicated to the patient and documented. Any denial of access also needs to fit within this 30 day/60 day time frame.

The growing tech savvy and health aware public wants access and control over their health information. This has led to an increase in demand for the release of information to the patient. As we are all aware, the electronic health record is not always neat and tidy and easy to digest. Patient records also have a high degree of “copy and paste” type notes leading to issues with accuracy of information from visit to visit. With more patients reviewing their records than ever before, perceived interpretations and actual transcription errors require a more robust ability to address the influx of questions, corrections, and possible amendments.

It requires a dedicated team to handle these requests to ensure consistency of process and compliance and should not be left up to each area within the organization to address on their own. Having a streamlined way in which you handle requests for amendments is imperative for HIPAA compliance and overall patient satisfaction.

During our May ROI Roundtable Webinar Series, we were honored to have Mercy del Rey, Assistant Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer for Baptist Health System South Florida, and a Verisma client, speak to us on how their 12 hospital and 200+ outpatient center health system has employed a centralized process to address the significant growth of patient record amendment requests over the past decade.

Baptist Health South FLorida began their journey to a centralized process right from the inception of HIPAA, by establishing a corporate privacy office that would also be responsible for handling all patient amendment requests. With the advent of HIPAA and Right to Access, HITECH, Meaningful Use, and the explosion of the electronic medical record, they saw the volume of requests for amendments dramatically increase. The advent of patient portals, the information demand related to a global pandemic , and the government’s increased push for information interoperability and sharing, has further increased the volume of requests. In 2003, Baptist Health South Florida received 7 requests to amend healthcare information. That number has steadily grown to well over 300 requests a year at present.

Mercy demonstrated how they carefully evaluate each amendment request with questions that include:

  • Does this error affect the care received?
  • How will this affect future care?
  • Legitimacy of the request such as “I fell at Walmart, not at home”.
  • Where are all the places in the record that we need to have addendums?
  • Will the record need to be re-coded and re-billed once a change has been made?


Having a central and dedicated trained and knowledgeable team review each request and make these determinations is essential for process consistency and overall amendment accuracy. This requires a detail review of the request and the medical record in question, as well as the ability to reach out to the clinician(s) involved who will review the request and review the medical record to determine whether the amendment can/will be made.

Some of the many roadblocks/challenges her team faces include a clinician’s willingness to review and amend a record, technical challenges that may affect the ability to capture the associated information across the record set, detangling medical records across multiple platforms, old paper records, complex requests that may require varying degrees of interpretation, and the careful management of unrealistic patient expectations. To help with these challenges, Mercy’s team looks to others in the organization for assistance in removing these roadblocks. They work hand-in-hand with the Patient Experience team to help manage to the patient communication process. For clinicians unwilling to cooperate, they have stablished an escalation process up the chain of command to their Chief Medical Officer. In addition, they work closely with Health Information Management on issues such as the detangling and updating of a medical record. As Mercy relayed, “It takes a Village”.

Key to process compliance and overall success, includes all new employees, including the physician staff, are trained on the amendment process as a part of their orientation and onboarding. This ensures that everyone is aware of the process from the beginning of their employment. Baptist Health System South Florida makes their patient amendment request form available on-line which automatically routes all new requests directly to Mercy and her Privacy Office. In addition, they receive requests from the Patient Experience team who sometimes receives the request as a part of their patient complaint filing process.

This centralized and accountable approach to handling patient amendment requests has enabled Baptist Health South Florida to maintain a scalable, highly organized, and compliant approach to handling patient requests for amendments all while keeping the patient’s needs, safety, and overall satisfaction at the forefront of their efforts.

The Top Disclosure Management Trends to Watch in 2022

The Top Disclosure Management Trends to Watch in 2022

Date: January 26, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EST


Julia Applegate
SVP of Client Operations

Debbie Lobb, RHIA, CHP, CHC, CTR
Director of Compliance & Privacy

Barbara Carr, RHIA
Strategic Advisor

Discover the top trends in disclosure management to watch in 2022.  Further roll-out of the 21st Century Cures Act, the proposed modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule along with a hybrid workforce and the growing increase in digital requests and delivery will all have a direct impact on HIM operations and require organization-wide changes in 2022.  Verisma subject matter experts will share first-hand knowledge and steps they are taking to prepare for these challenges and helping health system clients navigate through these changes. Learn what areas will see the biggest impact and recommended next steps to take to your organization.

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn what HIPAA changes will directly impact HIM operations and what you can do to prepare.
  • Learn how to ensure compliance with the further rollout of the 21st Century Cures Act to ensure the entire medical records is made available to patients upon request.
  • Learn how technology advances in disclosure management can help meet the demands the new changes will place on HIM departments.

Pre-Approved for 1 AHIMA CEU Credit.



Key Takeaways from AHIMA21

Key Takeaways from AHIMA21

By Barbara Carr, RHIA

AHIMA21 was unlike any I can remember in recent years. Of course, my first AHIMA Convention was 40 years ago. AHIMA’s focus today is nothing like it was back then. Back then there were dictation systems with tapes and discs, transcription was still being done on a typewriter and vendors were selling the latest in file folders and filing systems. The name of this year’s convention was “Transforming the Future of Health Data”, and the convention was all about data: data integrity, data interoperability, data governance, and data sharing. The content this year was rich with information on the latest technology, data interoperability, and management trends that HIM professionals need to be prepared to execute in our fast-changing technology-focused world. AHIMA CEO, Wylecia Wiggs-Harris, reminded us that “health data is human data” and “data needs to be translated into information that is accurate and can be trusted.”

Reflecting on all that I heard and witnessed at this convention, I found a few key takeaways that I would like to reflect on:

    1. Top trends in data interoperability and information blocking – The number of healthcare Apps that are available to patients for accessing and downloading their health information is growing. The development of these healthcare apps is continuing to explode thanks to the 21st Century Cures Act. Apple is the most common 3rd party app, but many other apps are also available and in development. We learned that HL7 FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources) is now the standard API (Application Program Interface). This game changer is enabling the healthcare market to employ faster and easier methods to exchange EHI as well as enable mobile app integration.  The Verisma Request App® is one app that is helping organizations meet the demand for apps that are easy to use and provide the patient with direct access to their healthcare information regardless of the EHR where their information is stored.
    2. Data Integrity and Patient Matching – The importance of accurate patient matching and avoiding duplicate records for a patient is becoming even more important under information blocking. HIM professionals have always known how important correct patient matching is for patient safety and data integrity. However, now incorrect patient matching can cause your organization to be out of compliance with the 21st Century Cures Act. The patient would not be accessing ALL their health information they request due to duplicate patient records. Technology is advancing to enable smart fault tolerant searches within clinical systems to do a better job of patient matching. We learned how artificial intelligence (AI) is being utilized to improve the accuracy and integrity of both patient and clinical information. However, it still requires human oversight.  AHIMA CEO, Wylecia Wiggs-Harris, stated that “It’s our profession that drives all aspects of integrity and protection of data and health information.”
    3. New Era of HIM Leadership – Speakers addressed how HIM leadership has evolved during the pandemic and managing virtual workplaces. Speakers stressed how HIM professionals need to be ready for the new world of technological advances and prepared for it ahead of time. Innovation in management as well as technology were driven forth at a faster pace over the last 18 months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Monday’s speaker, Seth Jeremy Katz, MPH, RHIA, FAHIMA, spoke on what HIM needs to focus on during this decade. There will be a continued growth in AI in many areas of healthcare, big tech such as Apple and Google are getting in on healthcare and we will see this grow stronger in the future. What new issues will this cause for HIM and data integrity and accuracy? We will see a continued growth in telehealth and remote patient monitoring.  Remote work will be the norm as the HIM department becomes a virtual one. The one fascinating thing I heard about from one speaker was robotics. Robots will be able to do many simple tasks that are now performed by humans. This will create a new area for HIM oversight of the information produced/collected by the robots. For instance, robots, or chat bots, will be able to help fill out ROI requests, and know what information you requested and be able to go into the clinical system and release the information to you without any human interaction. HIM leaders need to be prepared and plan for all the new technological changes and how they will manage these changes. It will be up to HIM professionals to ensure that the data they produce is accurate. The new technology will create a huge disruption if you are not prepared for it. New roles will be open to HIM professionals who are prepared. One speaker at the conference, Dr. Daniel Kraft said it best; “Uber yourself before you get Kodaked.” Start preparing for the future now.

    4. Protecting Healthcare Data – OCR Director, Roger Severino was quoted by one speaker, “Hacking continues to be the greatest threat to privacy and security of individual health information.” We heard about many threats to healthcare data and ways in which those threats are growing. This creates new areas for HIM professionals to focus their expertise in protecting the healthcare data. One speaker, Michael Stearns, MD, CPC, CRC, CFPC, noted that “value-based care initiatives coupled with interoperability mandates are creating a data tsunami and a desperate need to tame it.” The 21st Century Cures Act which requires that patients have access to structured and unstructured EHR information has led to concerns for privacy and security. Ensuring the patient gets the right record they are requesting is essential to maintaining privacy.

I have to say I’ve missed all the personal connections and conversations that occur at the annual conventions and I hope we are able to go back to the in-person events in the future. I did enjoy the participant chats and found out that there were many people who were able to attend this year because it was virtual as their employers are no longer paying travel expenses.

As a final observation, I was very proud of Verisma and the many AHIMA members who made possible the company’s $5,000 donation to the AHIMA Foundation.  This donation reflects individual and state association pledges to protect truth and accuracy of health information.  Add your name to this pledge embracing the values of HIM at: https://verisma.com/pledge-to-protect-truth-and-accuracy/.




What Keeps a Compliance Officer up at Night?  Challenges with Access and Disclosure of PHI

What Keeps a Compliance Officer up at Night? Challenges with Access and Disclosure of PHI

With years of HIM leadership experience under my belt, my current role as Director of Corporate Compliance requires me to step back to see the big picture. As I read about the nineteenth OCR HIPAA settlement, it should give pause as to how we got here. HIM professionals are ingrained to protect patient privacy at all costs, but it begs the question if we are trying to protect the wrong people. Patients absolutely have a right to their information and unfortunately, too many roadblocks have existed in the past. When managing release of information (ROI), I agree it is cleaner and less complex to routinely require a written authorization from the patient before releasing any PHI to anyone. But, in some scenarios, we are doing a disservice to the very patient whose information we are trying to protect.

Patients are more technology savvy; they want their information and they want it now. We have an opportunity to speed up this entire process and in so doing, improve service to our customers. If you haven’t already, it is time to think creatively about ROI. If a patient calls your department asking for their records, figure out a process for verifying their identity over the phone versus requiring the patient to come into your department or submit a written request. Use the technology available to you for delivering records to patients, whether that is through your patient portal, an app, email or another electronic method. Speaking of email, we also need to accept the fact that not all patients will be comfortable handling encrypted emails containing their records. They may not want to make up a password and, in my opinion, it should be their choice. You may need to work with your Information Services Department to ensure you can email records unencrypted, if that is the patients’ preference.

I don’t believe we should charge our patients for copies of their own medical information. They are entitled to the information and I think it is just the right thing to do. As we increase the capabilities of apps, our patient portals and methods of delivering medical information to patients, the task of covering our costs should become easier. We also need to get more efficient at this process – 30 days is a long time to wait for delivery of anything – think how we would feel if our typical Amazon orders took this long to arrive? I applaud the 15 day turnaround requirement in the proposed HIPAA Rules. We cannot ignore requests from our patients – the HHS Enforcement Actions demonstrate examples of frustrated patients not getting what they request in a timely manner, or not getting the information at all.

I am hopeful the use of electronic signatures will be specifically noted as allowable under the Proposed Modifications to the HIPAA Privacy Rule. I have seen health information departments differ in their decisions to allow or disallow their use. The use of electronic signatures is a well- established practice and we should move away from requiring only handwritten signatures from patients.

Another thought about patient portals – we are now pushing much more information to the patient, i.e. test results, notes, pathology reports, discharge instructions, in some cases very quickly after creation. Having test results at your fingertips  as soon as they are available is not intended to replace those critical discussions between provider and patient. We need to reassure our patients that these discussions will still occur, even if they see the results via their portal account before they have spoken to their provider. Informing the patient of this during the office appointment when the tests are being ordered needs to become the norm. Placing a “results disclaimer” on the patient portal is another method to communicate this to patients.

As a compliance officer, I want to ensure we are following the law and exceeding our patient needs at the same time. It is also my job to ensure our policies/procedures minimize risk for my organization. It is very important for HIM leaders to step up controls to make certain that access and disclosure management is a sound and reliable process. With each enforcement announcement, the OCR is sending a strong message – no more barriers for patients to get their own information. If access and disclosure management has not been top-of-mind before, it sure needs to be now. If we consistently and efficiently meet our patients’ needs for access, we can all sleep soundly at night.

Wendy Mangin, MS, RHIA is Director of Corporate Compliance for Good Samaritan, Vincennes, Indiana where she served as Director of Health Information Management for over four decades with responsibilities as Executive Project Director for the health systems EPIC implementation. She served on the Board of Directors of AHIMA and its President in 2008.