Thursday, October 22, 2009

AHDI-West Productivity Webinar - Attend and Support Power of 10!

AHDI-West "Power of 10" Technology Webinar #2
Thursday, October 29, 2009
1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. PDT
Looking at Expansions Through Windows
Presented by Betsy Ertel, AHDI-F

This webinar will touch on Concept, Benefits and Value of Abbreviation Technology, Working in Windows with Expander Programs, Conflicts with Do’s and Don’t’s in Creations, and Interactive Abbreviations with Feedback vs. Long-Form Keyword Name Creations. Registration fee $10. Online payment/registration available on the AHDI-West website. All proceeds will be sent to AHDI earmarked for the Power of 10 campaign. For more information, contact Kat King, AHDI-F, at This webinar is approved for 1 MT Tools CEC. Registration closes October 27.

The GoToWebinars are generously sponsored by Med-Line School of Medical Transcription.

Please be advised that contributions to the Power of 10 campaign are not tax deductible; however, AHDI-West Power of 10 Technology Webinar fees may be considered an educational expense. Consult your tax advisor.

AHDI Programmatic Restructuring

In the face of shifting changes in healthcare documentation and a healthcare delivery system that is demanding greater specificity, increased standardization, and higher quality service provision, AHDI has undergone internal reorganization to streamline critical association programs toward the goal of delivering on key priorities for workforce development, education, credentialing, and knowledge generation. AHDI is excited to announce that Lea Sims, CMT, AHDI-F, will be assuming the new role of Director of Professional Programs and will oversee all professional content programs, including education, credentialing, professional practices, product development, communications and publications. With a bachelor’s degree in Education, a background in MT education and curriculum development, and recent contributions to professional practice as author of The Book of Style for Medical Transcription , 3rd edition, Ms. Sims is ideally suited to coordinate the products, programs, and services designed to ensure ongoing professional development and credentialing of our workforce. "Getting our workforce ready to meet the demands of our evolving healthcare system will continue to be our highest priority," says Sims. "This will mean pushing our model curriculum, credentialing exams, professional practices, products and services to a greater level of intellectual rigor and scholarship. We have to be ready to deliver on our promise to healthcare that we’re generating a knowledge worker capable of impacting risk management and improved clinical decision-making through better, more accurate health information." You can learn more about AHDI professional programs at the AHDI website or by contacting Lea Sims at

Regional Event: November 14, 2009—Madison, WI. Register Early and Save $20

AHDI is proud to present a regional event in partnership with the AHDI Wisconsin/Minnesota Chapter on Saturday November 14, 2009, in Madison, WI. This program offers educational sessions for both students and practicing MTs, as well as opportunities to network and share best practices with fellow attendees and the AHDI National Board of Directors. The keynote presentation will be given by AHDI/MTIA CEO, Peter Preziosi, PhD, CAE, and 2009 AHDI President Susan Lucci, RHIT, CMT, AHDI-F. These dynamic leaders will discuss "The Future of Health Information—Where Does the MT Fit," a presentation that takes a serious look at the major changes and challenges on the horizon for the healthcare documentation industry, as well as the new opportunities available for MTs who are ready to grow and evolve their careers. Come share in the vision and direction for our association and the industry in Madison, while seizing the opportunity for professional growth and development in our rapidly evolving field of healthcare documentation. Save $20 by registering before November 2nd.

Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An Eye on the Future: MTs as PHR Facilitators

With the rapid evolution of technology and a consumer-driven push to put patients and caregivers in the driver’s seat of their own healthcare decisions, personal health records (PHRs) are fast becoming a documentation option of choice for the American patient. It is a fundamental goal of AHDI to retool and prepare our workforce for emerging roles and contributions to healthcare delivery. Among those potential roles for MTs would be assisting patients with the preparation and maintenance of a comprehensive, high-quality personal health record. To that end, AHDI is promoting the role of PHR Facilitator as a contributory future space for the tacit knowledge and experience of medical transcriptionists. The goals of the PHR initiative are to (a) educate the public on how to access, read, and understand their healthcare records, (b) create public awareness around the importance of healthcare documentation specialists as health record experts, and (c) position MTs as PHR facilitators to assist patients with PHR creation and assembly (via paid or volunteer service). AHDI is creating a PHR Toolkit to assist members and component groups in promoting the value of a personal health record to the general public and creating a potential space for MTs to step into a facilitator’s role. The kit, which will include PowerPoint presentations for public education, facilitator/consumer consent forms, brochures and other AHIMA-supplied PHR forms, will be available in the coming weeks. Look for announcements in AHDI publications and emails and access to the kit via the AHDI website soon! Few in healthcare delivery understand the nuances of a detailed, accurate health record the way MTs do – experts ideally suited to assist the public with PHR creation and management. For more information about the PHR Tool Kit, contact Sue Krajewski ( at AHDI.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Open Letter to Healthcare Documentation Professionals

What does the future hold for medical transcriptionists, medical editors, and the healthcare documentation profession? Quite honestly, that depends on us. It depends on our knowledge and understanding of the ever-changing technologic landscape of the healthcare industry and our ability to adapt to these changes. It depends on our preparedness for emerging technologies and capacity to use standardized vocabularies that will form the basis of uniformly structured and coded documents. Frankly, it depends on our profession staying focused on evolving our craft, becoming more visible on the healthcare team as the “go-to” experts in clinical documentation, and working together to prepare ourselves for future roles in the healthcare industry. We may be unable to directly control the evolution of the healthcare industry and its enabling technologies, but we can ensure our future by adapting to it.

The purpose of this letter is two-fold. First, we want to promote AHDI priorities and how they require involvement by the profession. These priorities address the changing healthcare landscape in positioning our profession not only to remain relevant but also to be considered a value-add service to patient care delivery. Secondly, whether you’re a member of AHDI or not, we must all pull together at this defining moment in our profession’s history to help reset our direction in these changing times rather than waiting to have others set it for us. We believe AHDI members and nonmembers alike are part of the solution. You can support the future of your career and profession in many ways, along with the priorities of AHDI, and here are a few:

Educate yourself. A solid educational background sustained by long-term continuing education is the cornerstone of our profession. We are medical language specialists – and that language is evolving and morphing exponentially along. The documentation sector is also being shaped by healthcare’s desire for more standardization and greater information specificity with the advent of health information exchanges and ICD-10 arriving in 2013. A good knowledge base is essential. Log onto the AHDI website and take advantage of the many continuing education opportunities we have to offer.

Get credentialed. Professional credentialing demonstrates commitment to lifelong education and is necessary to earn the respect of those both within and outside of our profession. A professional credential demonstrates that like most every other professional on the healthcare delivery team, you are committed to life-long learning and have taken a competency-based national exam to validate your knowledge. We know that we are a critical contributor to patient safety, but without credentials that set us apart and distinguish our unique body of knowledge and contributions to the patient care team, our end-users will continue to believe that anyone can do this job and that our role can readily be replaced by point-and-click technologies and speech recognition engines.

Use authenticated research tools. Many in our profession do not have adequate resources for the demanding jobs we hold. There are many resources available online. Some are very good, and some are not reliable or trustworthy, so Internet searching is often a gamble. The AHDI Benchmark Knowledge Base, with the third edition Book of Style embedded into it, is a one-stop, web-based solution to this problem and represents the profession’s next generation of authenticated literature to drive accuracy and quality into the healthcare document in a quicker and more automated way. Traditional books are excellent, but you need to keep them up-to-date.

Embrace new technology. The electronic healthcare record is coming, and in many places it is already here. It is an important and necessary development in healthcare documentation and patient safety. We must work toward the goal of a National Health Information Network because such a network of accessible, interoperable health information is a critical component of healthcare reform. Read the Emerging Technologies Focus Group Findings and Conclusions – a comprehensive report prepared from focus groups conducted with documentation professionals and technology vendors, and learn what they believe are the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the field.

Get involved. AHDI has a Facebook page – there is no cost, and you can find out more about what we are doing in support of hard-working healthcare documentation professionals. We discuss what is happening in healthcare and how staying connected, informed, and involved can keep us a step ahead of changes as they develop. Check us out here.

Contribute to the Power of 10 Campaign. AHDI is launching a year-long campaign to raise $10 from 10,000 MTs by the end of 2010. Why? To support the association’s advocacy efforts in Washington, DC, where AHDI and MTIA are working hard to make sure you have a role in the future of the EHR. Our lobbying firm along with our government relations staff is making sure our sector is well represented in important meetings and discussions being held by our nation’s legislators and policymakers on healthcare reform, criteria and standards for EHR systems, and workforce development in allied health. All Power of 10 funds go directly to this effort. It will take every one of the “silent” ten thousand contributing their “voice” through support and participation. Find out more about Power of 10.

While everyone around us is deciding our future relevance in healthcare, we must come together, as the true experts in our field, and work collaboratively to develop valuable and meaningful technology-enabled roles that assist in accelerating EHR adoption, healthcare reform, and improved clinical and reimbursement decision support through accurate, timely, and complete healthcare documentation. We can work together, as practitioners, educators, QA experts, compliance officers, managers, team leaders, and supervisors to shape a future for our profession and that contributes to improving the U.S. healthcare delivery system.

There are so many things you can do to build a better future for yourself. This letter outlines some of the many possibilities for positioning yourself to not only survive but thrive in the future of healthcare.
Which ones will you choose?

Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity
2010 Board of Directors, Volunteer Members, and Staff

October 2009

AHDI Advocacy on the Move in Austin

Texas-AHDI recently had the privilege of having Peter Preziosi in Texas this week. Today, Peter, myself, and Laura Bryan met with John C. Wood, North Texas Regional Director for Senator John Cornyn (R) of Texas. We were able to discuss with Mr. Wood the initiatives in our industry and the importance of bringing AHDI and MTIA to the table in the current discussions regarding the current Administration’s healthcare initiatives. I am happy to report that Mr. Wood was very receptive to our ideas and said that he would be happy to take our concerns and suggestions to the Senator. We are already well represented in Washington, DC by Peter and Greg Doggett, and it was beneficial for all of us to know that by speaking out and bringing our concerns to our legislators, we can make a difference. Knowing that, consider attending Lobby Day in Washington, DC next year – every voice counts, and our legislators are happy to listen!

We discussed the importance of the healthcare documentation specialist in the overall framework of a patient’s healthcare record. Mr. Wood listened to our concerns and agreed that we have a vital role in the ongoing process of the advent of the electronic health record. Tomorrow, Peter and I will be going to Texas Health Resources Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas to meet with their HIM Director, Don Carr, and thanks to the wonderful efforts of Jerry Shoemaker, President of the Greater Fort Worth Chapter, Cindy Liesenfelt, President of the Greater Dallas Chapter, and Diana Anderson, President-Elect of the Greater Dallas Chapter, Peter will be interviewed by a local news reporter after our meeting with the HIM Director of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas. We are excited about the momentum that seems to be sweeping Texas and all of the nation, and are grateful to everyone who continues to make that happen.

We will be attending the Greater Dallas Chapter of AHDI’s symposium on Saturday, and plan to have an extended round-table discussion among local MTs about current initiatives, and what our national representatives are doing to make sure we are at the forefront of clinical documentation.

I will be happy to keep you posted over the coming days about our initiatives here in Texas, and we hope that it gives everyone renewed vigor to get our message out there, to ensure the continued integrity of the patient health record and our role in that effort.

We look forward to seeing all of you at the ACE event in Austin in 2010 – August 4th through 7th. We really do things bigger in Texas, and we hope the spirit here is contagious!!

Cynthia C. Alder, CMT
President, Texas AHDI 2009-2010
Member, AHDI Ethics Committee 2009
Member, AHDI Compliance Outreach Council 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Medical Transcription Job Search Survey For Recent Graduates

In an effort to develop new resources that will assist MT graduates experience a successful first job search, the Workforce Development staff at AHDI has developed a brief survey for students and recent graduates. Please share this link with any students or recent grads you may know of who have either completed their job search successfully or may still be looking.