Accreditation History in Health Information Management


Historical Timeline

How well do you know your health information management accreditation history? The professional association was founded in 1928. By 1935 the leadership had determined that a formal curriculum model for medical record librarians was needed. The plan included prerequisites of application, the length of courses, and procedures to follow for official program approval. The first four programs were hospital-based and were approved by the American Association of Medical Record Librarians (AAMRL):

  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
  • Rochester General Hospital, Rochester, New York
  • St. Mary’s Hospital, Duluth, Minnesota
  • St. Joseph’s Hospital, Chicago, Illinois

By 1942 the inspection process and confirmation of accreditation had moved to the American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Education and Hospitals, which later developed into the Council for Allied Health Education Accreditation (CAHEA). In 1994 CAHEA was closed and a new commission was formed for allied health programs, the Commission on Accreditation for Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

AHIMA volunteers participated in the AHIMA Council on Accreditation and its various predecessor forms, and conducted accreditation through the CAAHEP organization which was the final accreditation authority. In 2003 the AHIMA House of Delegates determined that the profession of health information management was strong, unique and should be able to conduct and confirm final accreditation actions for all HIM programs and incorporate within its scope the emerging field of health informatics. The Council on Accreditation became CAHIIM and a decision was made to formally withdraw from the CAAHEP organization in 2005. In March 2005 all currently accredited HIM programs were transferred to the CAHIIM accreditation organization. In seeking external review and recognition of its accreditation processes and authority, CAHIIM sought the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) recognition. During this process it was determined that CAHIIM should form a separate non-profit corporation and seek IRS tax status as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. This occurred January 2011 and CHEA recognition was conferred in 2012. CAHIIM continues today to focus on maintaining quality assurance through the academic programs within its scope.