CAHIIM has conducted a pilot peer review process for approval of master’s degree programs in both health informatics and health information management programs since 2006. CAHIIM studied the issues and needs of programmatic accreditation at the graduate level in health informatics and incorporated the work of a blue ribbon Health Informatics Workgroup in 2008 and a CAHIIM Health Informatics Committee in 2009 consisting of four appointed Commissioners to the CAHIIM Board representing health informatics educators and practitioners.


October 2009: Standards Released for Public Comment

January 2010: Public comment period deadline extended

February 2010: Committee reviews and incorporates submitted comments and revisions

March 2010: Standards and program application process available

2009 Commissioners Meet to Draft Standards for Health Informatics Master’s Degree Programmatic Accreditation

A special health informatics committee of the CAHIIM Board of Commissioners met in Chicago, IL, in June to draft a set of programmatic accreditation Standards for master’s degree programs in health informatics. These Standards adhere to the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) Member Code of Good Practice and follow accepted practice in higher education academic quality assurance. The draft Standards address the mission, sponsorship, responsibilities of the academic institution, the program mission and goals, curriculum, faculty, resources, students, and fair practices. The draft Standards will be refined by the CAHIIM Board and released for a 60-day public comment period beginning October 2009. The draft Health Informatics Standards will be circulated to CAHIIM accredited programs, other known graduate-level programs, the accreditation community, professional associations, and posted on the CAHIIM Web site with instructions on where and how to provide comments. It is anticipated that the final Standards and Interpretations for Accreditation of Health Informatics (HI) Programs Master’s Degree will be released before the close of the year.

2009 Health Informatics Committee photo

L to R: Angela Kennedy, MEd, MBA, RHIA, CPHQ; Joan Hicks, MS, RHIA; Merida Johns, PhD, RHIA;
Claire Dixon-Lee, PhD, RHIA, FAHIMA, CPH; Patt Peterson, MA, RHIA, George Payan; Steven Steindel, PhD, FACMI; John Holmes, PhD, FACMI; and Rosemary Walker, DDS, MBA, MS.

2008 The CAHIIM Scope of Accreditation Includes Health Informatics

The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) determined at its November 2007 meeting that a proactive stance was necessary for an expanded scope of CAHIIM accreditation and to explore the domain of health informatics education. Funding for a Health Informatics (HI) Workgroup was requested and granted by the AHIMA Board of Directors. The target audience for the workgroup included local (Chicago and vicinity) health informatics educators, administrators, and several recognized national leaders in health informatics. A pre-planning group of co-chairs were identified and a facilitator commissioned to guide the workgroup. The workgroup session took place June 19-20, 2008 in the CAHIIM (AHIMA) Chicago office.

The charge to the HI Workgroup was to examine definitions of health informatics, frame marketplace need, explore elements of core curriculum and prerequisites, faculty requirements, examine student characteristics, define outcome assessment measures, explore various stakeholder groups including the role of professional associations, and develop quality measurements for program delivery criteria for the organization, management, accreditation, and marketing of such academic programs.

The HI Workgroup provided guidance and support to clarify the academic domain of health informatics education, share core curricula, build on the efforts of AMIA, AHIMA, IMIA, and others in this regard, identify stakeholders to target for public comment on quality Standards, as well as market and deliver a CAHIIM Accreditation System (CAS) for health informatics if such was deemed necessary. Clearly the employer market and the student/public buyer of health informatics academic programs is confused and currently no other accrediting organization beyond the discipline-specific accreditors of medicine, nursing, public health, pharmacy, etc., are poised to take this on. Health informatics stands alone with no accreditation home at this point in time.

The HI Workgroup examined several key challenges and outlined potential actions that by consensus was felt to be necessary to move forward. Subcommittees were formed, other stakeholders will be added to the discussions, commitment to issue a clearer definition of the field of health informatics as a trans-disciplinary field, recognition and support of competency development work by other groups, and formalization of programmatic CAHIIM Standards were identified as next steps.

Health Informatics Workgroup photo

Health Informatics Workgroup Participants and Staff, Chicago, IL, June 2008

Back row (left to right): John Holmes, Joel Shapiro, Merida Johns, Rosemary Walker, Karen Patena,
Annette Valenta, Samir Chatterjee, Mark McCreary, Amanda Dorsey, Brian Malec, Josette Jones, and
John Lynch.

Front row (left to right): Wesley Valdes, Claire Dixon-Lee, Jonathan Silverstein, Linda Salchenberger, and
William Hersh.