AHIMA 2018 Recap: "Get on Your Feet" and Get Energized

Maureen Kelly 5x7-72.jpg

By: Maureen Kelly

Axea Solutions - Executive Sales Director

The AHIMA 2018 Conference and Exhibit and commemoration of AHIMA’s 90th birthday took full advantage of the event’s location in Miami, Fla., and the newly remodeled Miami Convention Center to create a very energized and exciting program. 

The momentum began the minute the conference was called to order by Diann H. Smith, the current AHIMA president and Vice President of Health Information Management and Clinical Documentation Improvement at Texas Health Resources. Diann was joined on the stage by AHIMA CEO Wylecia Wiggs Harris and the fun and learning began immediately!

The first order of business was for the audience to “Get on Your Feet” and “get up and make it happen – stand up and take some action” - inspired by a Miami music and dance troupe that featured a Gloria Estefan tribute. It was complete with amazing dancing and gymnastic moves that set the stage for a very fast-paced conference. After that performance and Diann’s inspirational speech, the entire audience appeared motivated to make the most of their time at the conference.

There were so many excellent educational sessions at this year’s conference - it was sometimes difficult to choose which event to attend; many of the sessions were standing room only. Topics ranged from coding, auditing, CDI – inpatient and outpatient, HCC and value-based alternative payment models, quality, information governance, analytics, innovation and more!

One session that I found very interesting was Looking to the Future: What ICD-11 Has in Store for HIM Professionals. The speaker, Kathy Giannangelo, explained the many differences between ICD-10 and ICD-11. One of the biggest challenges I see with ICD-11 is that the syntax is much different from what we are used to in ICD-10, and codes can be combined into strings that can be quite long (10+ characters) to support the specificity required with this methodology. This will require our HIM, EHR and other Information Technology solutions to update their systems to handle the new syntax and length of codes. And, of course, coders, CDI, physicians and others will need to be educated so they may accurately document and code patient conditions. While no firm date has been established for the US to implement ICD-11, many countries are already using it and expectations are that we will see this in the states in the 2021 timeframe.