The AHIMA23 Ecosystem – What Role Do You Play?

By Kristi Fahy Wesolek, RHIA

On October 8th, thousands of health information professionals, like me, will be arriving in Baltimore for the AHIMA 2023 Conference. The annual AHIMA conference is exciting for many reasons: we get to explore a new city, reconnect with old friends, and some of us even get to speak or share our expertise. It is also an opportunity to learn more about the trending topics in our industry and catch a glimpse of the latest technological innovations. After AHIMA ends, we leave feeling energized and excited about what we will do when we are back in our office.

We all have our different reason(s) for attending the conference. For me, it is multi-faceted. Primarily, I am an AHIMA member and a credentialed RHIA, so the educational content is important for my professional growth and ongoing credential maintenance. I also serve as a member of the AHIMA Program Committee. In this role, I am a part of the team that evaluates presentation abstracts for the AHIMA conference. I am proud of the work we do on this committee, and I assure you it was a priority for us to choose presentation abstracts that represent the future of health information (HI).

What we do with data is a central theme to the session topics covered at AHIMA23. Issues like social determinants of health (SDOH) and how we can proactively leverage socioeconomic data (i.e., homelessness, food insecurity, access to transportation) to improve public health and health equity for every patient will be examined. Topics on how data literacy, or lack thereof, can impact patient outcomes will be discussed. Solutions that illustrate how technology can promote interoperability, workflow efficiency, and access to untapped, high-quality data will be explained.

The puzzle pieces are there but, we, HI professionals, must develop our skill sets to put those pieces together in a meaningful way. How will our roles evolve as access to technology and data grows? What is our role in evaluating and selecting the right technology and partner to meet our most pressing needs? Knowing that our role, expertise, and the work we do significantly impacts healthcare outcomes, how can we ensure that our voices are heard by executive leadership teams?

My final role at AHIMA23 is being a vendor. You will catch me and the rest of the Dolbey team exhibiting at booth #347. Being a vendor is one of my favorite roles and the ultimate networking opportunity. I get to talk with people all day long and hear about the exciting projects they are currently working on or planning for in the years to come. And because Dolbey is a computer-assisted coding (CAC) and clinical documentation integrity (CDI) vendor, I have many conversations about the ways in which technology can help improve coding and CDI outcomes.

Walking the aisles of the exhibit hall and talking with vendors can seem daunting, but do not forget that we play a vital role in the HI ecosystem too. Whether it is technology, services or education, our goal is to help you put the puzzle pieces together. My only advice is to find a vendor who will truly be your partner—a partner who will prioritize your relationship, listen to your needs, and evolve and innovate with you for mutual growth.

Each of our unique roles contribute to the greater good of health information. For me, I will be attending AHIMA23 as an attendee ready to learn, a volunteer who wants to make a difference in HI, a technology vendor who can help, and most importantly, a human who loves being a part of this amazing professional community.

What are your reasons for attending AHIMA23? No matter your roles or your reasons, I hope our paths cross this year, so please be sure to say “hi” in passing or visit Dolbey at booth #347.

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