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Applying for Accreditation

Health Informatics Graduate Education Programs

Health informatics (HI) graduate programs focus on information systems, informatics principles, and information technology as applied to the continuum of healthcare delivery. Health Informatics graduate programs demonstrate uniqueness by offering varied options for practice or research.

Developmental history for the Programmatic Accreditation Process in Health Informatics.

Process Introduction

The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (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. Recognizing that there is a significant difference among the health informatics knowledge domains, a variety of interpretations of health informatics curricula across academic institutions, and that both the field of health informatics as a formal discipline and as an academic program are evolving, a set of curricular components are used to form curriculum guidelines.

Curriculum Guidelines

For purposes of assessing an academic program in health informatics, CAHIIM views the discipline through the lens of three major facets or domains. Information Systems curriculum components focus on such issues as information systems analysis, design, implementation, management and leadership. Informatics curriculum components are concerned with the study of structure, function and transfer of information, socio-technical aspects of health computing, and human-computer interaction. Information Technology curriculum components focus on computer networks, database and systems administration, security, and programming.

These three facets are aligned for the purpose of meeting the information needs of the various stakeholders within health care and related systems. Components of each of these facets are highly interactive with each other, requiring knowledge and skills that are shared between them. The result is a critical synergy within the discipline of health informatics. Graduates of a program must have formal exposure and show an understanding of the interconnections between the three facets. An academic program in health informatics must include the curriculum components from all three facets. Programs and students may choose to emphasize one or more facets consistent with their mission, goals and objectives. The kind of knowledge learned (knowledge dimension) and the process used to learn (cognitive processes) within each facet must be consistent with the program’s emphasis, goals and objectives.

Using a meta-data analysis approach, the following published competencies were assessed by the CAHIIM Health Informatics Committee for frequency and commonalities which resulted in the curricular components as viewed through the lens of the three major facets:

Recommendations of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) on Education in Biomedical and Health Informatics; First Revision (2010)

AMIA Board White Paper: Core Content for the Subspecialty of Clinical Informatics, JAMIA Vol. 16: No. 2, March/April 2009.

The Development of A Model Curriculum for Applied Health Informatics (H.D. Covvey; J.E. MacNeill)

Joint Work Force Task Force: Health Information Management and Informatics Core Competencies for Individuals Working With Electronic Health Records (AHIMA and AMIA 2008)

Competencies for Public Health Informaticians 2009

It was determined that the analysis of existing published competencies would be used to populate each of the three broad facets with specific curriculum components. The five published documents combined with the work of the 2008 Health Informatics Workgroup, and assessment of curricula from existing health informatics academic programs provide a basic framework on which to build and assess a graduate level program. As the process evolves refinements to the health informatics master’s degree curriculum components will be made.

The Online Candidacy Application Process for Accreditation

CAHIIM Candidacy Description

The purpose of this process is to establish a consultative relationship with developing programs in Health Informatics, the sponsoring institution and CAHIIM staff in working towards CAHIIM Accreditation. Such programs may be in the planning or early stages of program implementation.

An Application for Candidacy should be made if a program and its sponsoring institution believes it is in full compliance with the current Standards for Accreditation. The review and decision of a submitted application may take up to 90 days to complete.

Achieving applicant Candidacy status does not guarantee eventual Accreditation of the program.

Length of Candidacy Status

A program may remain in Candidacy Status for a maximum of two (2) years.

Expiration of Candidacy Status

This status will be terminated if it is found that the Requirements for Candidacy have not been maintained at any time or the maximum 2-year period has elapsed. If the program has been informed of this action, the program must reapply by submitting a new Application for Candidacy.

Change in Program Director:

Should this occur during the Candidacy period, at any stage, the program's Candidacy Status, application and documentation in the CAHIIM Accreditation System (CAS) will be terminated.

Requirements for Candidacy

A program may apply for Candidacy only if:

1) The sponsoring institution is accredited by a regional accrediting institutional agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to offer a degree.

2) There is a qualified Program Director for each campus at all times during the Candidacy Stage.

3) All course syllabi have been prepared and all professional curriculum requirements are implemented.

4) Students have been enrolled in the program.  

Candidacy applications will be rejected if the above Requirements for Candidacy are not met at the application stage.

CAHIIM Processing Fees (Programs are invoiced)

Next Steps: How to begin the process

The CAHIIM Accreditation System (CAS) Portal

The program should apply using CAS links at the left navigation bar.

Visit the CAS System Resources link to:

1. Find comprehensive information on the registration and application processes and assistance and guidelines for completing subsequent stages in the accreditation process.

2. Download all system based CAHIIM template forms to be used and uploaded in the system. Program created forms may not be substituted and will not be accepted.