An Outsiders First Perspective of AHIMA 11

Posted on October 4, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

This being my first time to attend the AHIMA Annual Conference I thought I’d do a post talking about my experience for those who haven’t attended. Plus, a look at some of the major topics of discussion that I’m sure to write about in the near future.

I must admit that it feels like a very different conference for someone who’s use to attending conferences in the predominantly male driven IT world. I’m certainly not complaining about it at all, but it is interesting to see the subtle differences based upon the predominantly female AHIMA attendees. For example, I have a bottle of nail polish in my pocket from 3M. That’s definitely something you wouldn’t find at a male dominated IT conference. Although, even I as a male took one for my daughter. Can you imagine how much she’ll love me for it?

I must admit that I’m still a little torn about the AHIMA conference, because I can’t help but wonder how many of the AHIMA members really exert influence over decision makers in their organization. This was partially highlighted to me by the choice of AHIMA keynotes which focus on leadership. It seems that AHIMA is making an effort to help their members become leaders in their organization and not just “worker bees.”

I’m sure my perspective is tainted a little bit when I think back to times where I’ve seen some of my HIM friends come back from conferences that taught them about EMR. They have all this energy about the interesting technologies or new products, but they far too often say something like, “Not that anyone cares, since they won’t really listen to me about EHR.” I really hope that this is a rather broad generalization. Plus, while it might be true that many in healthcare don’t listen as highly to HIM (or doctors in many cases) when it comes to EHR, I think HIM does have more of a voice when it comes to things like managing Release of Information, ICD-10, document imaging, etc.

The micro industries that exist has been one of the interesting things I’ve found at AHIMA. For example, there’s some really interesting and relatively large companies working in the Release of Information space. It’s quite amazing to me to see something so niche be so successful.

One thing I have really enjoyed about the people at AHIMA is how supportive they are of each other. There seem to be really tight bonds and great relationships between those that attend.

Overall I’ve really enjoyed my AHIMA experience so far. I’ve only been able to attend one session (see my post on EMR and EHR about the Healthcare Social Media session I attended), but the people I’ve met have been interesting and beneficial. I guess that’s true for most conferences. It’s all about the people.