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Applying for Accreditation

(Checklist for New Health Information Program Development)


Conduct a feasibility study and estimate start-up costs

Include a realistic needs assessment


-Beyond the Bureau of Labor statistics
-Evaluate competition in the community or the market
-Find out if jobs are available locally or in the market served
-What types of jobs? How many? Will these be jobs for graduates at the academic level and skill sets proposed?
-What types of clinical practice or internship sites are available? How many? Are they willing to take your students?
-Are there sufficient, potentially qualified students?
-Can you attract qualified faculty?
-Conduct focus groups of potential employers to guide curriculum design.

Build relationships with healthcare entities for potential jobs, faculty, practice experiences, program resources

Create the Program

-For HIM programs engage the local, state and national professional associations in your planning:

http://www.ahima.org/about/csa.aspx

-For Health Informatics programs engage local and national informatics and health technology professionals in your planning:

www.amia.org
www.himss.org

-Form an Advisory Committee/Board - composition should be external, representative of various types of employers; an Advisory Committee/Board is fundamental to the construction of the curriculum, identify resources including potential faculty and guest lecturers, practice sites, research opportunities, and funding sources. Utilize the Advisory Committee/Board to provide guidance and support to help the program craft its focus, review syllabi and other curriculum materials, review program goals and evaluation plan, contribute to and review the self-assessment.

-Hire a program director qualified according to the respective Standards for the type of program and degree level
-At the graduate level, identify leadership and direction of program
-The program direct must have ownership of the curriculum content and management of the program
-HIM is a unique discipline - it is not a medical/coder biller program; it is not medical assisting; it is a body of knowledge that transitions across healthcare delivery and expands with higher education through graduate levels
-Health Informatics graduate programs span a wide range of foundational preparation and may focus on applied health informatics and/or research leading to doctoral studies
-Use the accreditation Standards and Curriculum Requirements document for the appropriate program and academic level

Curriculum content

-The domains (HIM) or facets (HI) are a guide to overall direction of the program -Avoid course titles that are too specific or narrowly focused
-Avoid course titles that are too generic
-Find a happy medium to allow some flexibility in curriculum improvements in these transitioning professions
-Where a curriculum requirements document contains specific outcome competencies, these are a guide as to the knowledge and skills the graduate is expected to demonstrate as stated by the profession
-Where a curriculum requirements document contains specific knowledge clusters to be taught at a pre-determined taxonomic level, these serve as a guide to the topics required in the curriculum and the depth of content delivered, supported by a variety of learning activities that lead to student achievement of the required outcome competencies
-Where a curriculum requirements document contains specific facets and curriculum components (HI master's degree), all components are required to be taught at an introductory level; a program will demonstrate a strength in one or more facets for which the curriculum components are expected to be taught at greater depth with a variety of learning activities demonstrating graduate competence within that facet

Sharing courses cross-discipline

-If the expectation is to use some existing courses from another discipline, ensure that the required competencies, knowledge clusters and/or curriculum components are fully understood by the faculty from that discipline and adequately addressed within the shared course
-Ensure that some course projects and activities focus on health information or health informatics such that students can apply what they are learning to their specific professional discipline
-Inform students which competencies or curriculum components are being addressed by a shared course
-Cross-discipline projects or team projects are good such that students learn to work in a team environment with a variety of professionals.

Resources

-A qualified program director is fundamental and must be employed full time with the institution.

-Faculty/student ratio should always be considered for an adequate number of faculty to support the program:

* Full time faculty (for undergraduate programs a second full time faculty member reporting to the program director)
* Part time and/or adjunct faculty (need is determined by the program)

-Faculty development is required for all faculty (including adjunct faculty) to maintain professional relevance in the course(s) they teach

-Many new faculty coming from practice will need guidance with pedagogy and student evaluation methods to be effective

-Financial support for program stability and growth

-Access to a computer lab and/or virtual lab applications

-All students will need access to technology applications reflecting the increasingly electronic healthcare industry

Campus-based or online courses

-Students must receive the same high quality education regardless of delivery method
-Faculty training and support on use and maintenance of online learning management systems and best practices in online or hybrid teaching
-Mentoring and other student support services are required

This is your initial investment and planning BEFORE seeking application to CAHIIM - READY TO APPLY?

Review the CAHIIM policies, standards, and Accreditation Manual on the web site

1) If you have adequately prepared and built your program
2) All program approvals have been completed as appropriate (such as campus, administrative, state board of higher education, institutional accreditation)
3) If you have a qualified, full time program director hired
4) If you have a second full time faculty member hired for the program (undergraduate programs only)
5) If the curriculum is fully designed
6) If syllabi and course schedules are completed
7) If student activities and assignments have been developed
8) If students are enrolled
* YOU ARE READY TO APPLY

The program director enters the CAHIIM Accreditation System (CAS) on the CAHIIM homepage; review the System HELP Manual first under "Systems Resources", complete the required template forms, follow the online instructions and register