Two Associations for Medical Transcriptionists: AHDI and AHIMA - dummies

Two Associations for Medical Transcriptionists: AHDI and AHIMA

By Anne Martinez

There’s no question that it’s a challenging time to be a medical transcriptionist. There’s tremendous change going on. New opportunities are opening up, including a broad availability of the option to work from home. But there’s also a lot of pressure for medical transcriptionists to produce more, faster, and for less pay; plus, a cloud of uncertainty surrounds the move to EHR.

Put them all together and you have medical transcriptionists who are on a tight budget, many of whom who feel professional organizations like AHDI aren’t doing enough to help them ride this wave of change.

Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity

AHDI is the central professional association medical transcriptionists join. If you’re going to join just one professional organization, this should be it. Here are a few of AHDI’s many accomplishments:

  • It crafted and continues to update a detailed model curriculum for training new medical transcriptionists. The curriculum is freely available through the AHDI website.

  • It develops and disseminates industry best-practices guidelines, including an “MT Bill of Rights” and model job descriptions for MT-related roles.

  • It publishes The Book of Style for Medical Transcription, the de-facto standard for formatting medical reports.

  • It puts on an annual conference, ACE, that is a fantastic (if somewhat expensive) opportunity to immerse yourself in all that is MT and the future of MT. Note: Some employers pay at least some of the costs of attending ACE, such as the registration fee.

  • It’s absolutely packed with leaders who are involved and invested in creating and upholding the highest standards of practice in healthcare documentation and the role MTs play in it. These are people with firsthand experience in the pleasures and pains of MT work.

This organization isn’t without controversy, but given what it’s had to work with and face, it’s done an impressive job so far. If you’re looking at the big picture, you should be supporting AHDI.

American Health Information Management Association

AHIMA’s area of focus is healthcare data management and medical coding. Although AHIMA isn’t specifically an MT-focused association, there’s a lot of overlap. The two organizations have worked together on a variety of initiatives, including drafting guidelines defining optimal turnaround times for different types of medical reports.

AHIMA offers professional certifications via its Commission on Certification for Health Informatics and Information Management (CCHIIM). The growing list includes credentials related to health information management, data privacy and security, and clinical documentation improvement.