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Accreditation manual

About program accreditation

The Canadian College of Health Information Management sets the accreditation standards for educational institutions offering health information programs in Canada.

Accreditation demonstrates to the public that a program is aligned to industry standards, as identified through the College’s needs assessment and consultation with the industry. It is a voluntary, self-regulatory process to recognize those that meet or exceed the standards set for health information education. The purpose of accrediting programs is to ensure continuous quality improvement of the educational content to support the evolving health information industry. 

Program accreditation level

Level I: Accredited

Level I is granted to an educational program to indicate that the program achieved the requirements for accreditation.

Level II: Accredited with reporting requirements

Level II is granted to an educational program to indicate that the program has reporting requirements with submission requirements in one or more standards.

Program accreditation cycles

The accreditation cycle for new programs is between seven to nine years in length. Thereafter, recurring accreditation cycles are five years in length. Beginning on the date the program accreditation agreement is signed, a period of time will be defined (minimum two years) to allow a student cohort to complete the program. The remaining time will be awarded pending the outcome of the accreditation step 3: final evaluation. Ongoing accreditation cycles are a five-year cycle.

Program levelInitial cycleRenewal cycles
Certificate 7 years5 years
Diploma7 years5 years
Degree9 years5 years

Program accreditation standards

For a program to become accredited, it must adhere to the following two standards:

Accountability standards

The accountability standards provide the details to ensure the effectiveness and sustainability of the health information program.

Curricular standards

The curricular standards provide the required educational content to be taught in the health information program.

The College regularly reviews current standards and policies in keeping with industry requirements. Programs will be notified of any changes in either standards or policies pertaining to health information programs with ample time for transition.

Educational institution portal

The College has designed the educational institution (EI) portal to provide convenient access to partnership and accreditation resources. Educational institutions pursuing program accreditation are required to use the educational institution to access and submit important information, documents, and more throughout the accreditation process.

Program accreditation process

Accreditation process workflow

The following is an outline of the process for initial accreditation and for those renewing.

Step 1: Application

Self-assessment package

The self-assessment package includes the accountability standards assessment, curricular standards assessment, and resolution form for the applicable certification. Together, they collect the information required to determine if the program meets accreditation standards.

  1. Accountability standards assessment

To complete the accountability standards assessment, select the appropriate compliance level and provide applicable evidence by linking additional documentation as required.

  1. Curricular standards assessment

To complete the curricular standards assessment, select the appropriate compliance level.

Programs must submit course outlines (draft versions accepted) to the College as supporting documentation. Please submit in .pdf format and label clearly with the course name and number as entered in the curricular gap analysis. To reduce file sizes, please remove extraneous information such as marking scheme, attendance policy, plagiarism, prior learning policy, transfer credit policy, etc.

  1. Resolution form

If there are gaps identified in the program, the College requires that the resolution form be completed. The resolution form is used to track the progress towards filling the gaps identified in the accountability and curricular standards.

To complete the resolution form:

Accountability gap(s) identification

  • Step 1: Accountability standard column: from the drop-down list, choose the non-compliant or partially compliant standard(s) identified in the self-assessment review
  • Step 2: Compliance level column: choose applicable compliance level
  • Step 3: Outline of tasks to meet compliance column: enter the tasks that the program is going to complete
  • Step 4: Estimated date of compliance column: enter the estimated date the task(s) will be completed

Curricular gap(s) identification

  • Step 1: Competency area column: from the drop-down list, choose the non-compliant or partially compliant standard(s) identified in the self-assessment review
  • Step 2: Competency item number and description column: choose the non-compliant or partially compliant competency item number and description from the drop-down list
  • Step 3: Compliance level column: ensure this column states ‘needs review’
  • Step 4: Outline of tasks to meet compliance column: enter the tasks that the program is going to complete
  • Step 5: Estimated date of compliance column
  • Step 6: Enter the estimated date the task(s) will be completed

The completed form must be sent to the College for final review and approval; the College will follow up with the program intermittently to ensure work on these areas is progressing

  1. Official compliance form

The dean or equivalent designate must sign off on the official compliance form. Completing this form confirms that the program has accurately filled out the self-assessment package in accordance with the College’s requirements.

Access the EI portal to download and submit the self-assessment package and compliance form.

Application decision letter

The application decision letter will explain whether a program has been approved to become accredited and at which level. Programs are notified of the College’s decision to approve or decline the application in writing within 90 days* of receiving the complete self-assessment package.

The College reserves the right to request additional documentation referable to any accreditation standard. If further information is required, additional content or clarification will be requested. All communication from the College will be directed to the program dean or equivalent.

* At times, the College could run outside of these service level agreements due to extenuating circumstances. 

Step 2: Accreditation administration

Program accreditation agreement 

To formalize a program’s accreditation status, institutions will be provided with and asked to sign a program accreditation agreement. This agreement outlines the College’s decision on program accreditation, including the ability to market or advertise as an accredited program.

The signed accreditation agreement may be uploaded to the educational institution portal. The agreement must be uploaded in pdf format.

Those undergoing re-accreditation will be required to sign an addendum to their initial accreditation agreement to reaffirm their program’s accreditation status.

Accreditation fees

TypeFee
One-time new program accreditation fee$5,000 + taxes
Annual accreditation fee*$1,000 + taxes

*Annual accreditation fees are aligned with an institution’s program accreditation anniversary date

Program recognition

The program directory lists all accredited health information programs. Once a program accreditation agreement is signed, an educational institution’s name, logo, and hyperlink to their program page will be displayed in the College’s program directory and on the program accreditation page. A public announcement will follow, shared through various digital channels.

Access the EI portal to upload the institutions’ marketing materials and request access to the College’s accredited program marketing materials.

Step 3: Assessment

The assessment will use various methods to collect information about an accredited program.

Stakeholder engagements

Stakeholder engagements may be conducted through direct conversations, focus groups, etc. Stakeholders may include faculty (e.g., program coordinators or instructors), current students, recent graduates, and employers.

Program audit

The program audit ensures a program is teaching the required competency items to the assigned Bloom’s taxonomy learning level. The College will select up to 20% of the competency items to audit. For programs completing their initial accreditation, the audit occurs after all courses have been fully developed and the initial cohort has completed the program. If the program is found to have significant gaps in compliance, the College may conduct a deeper review of the program. The College will provide further instruction if required.

Access the EI portal to upload the supporting documentation to support the program audit.

Final report

A final report outlines the College’s decision on the continued program accreditation status. An optional certificate may be provided upon request.

A program may not be awarded an accreditation status if there are significant gaps or a lack of commitment to meet one or more required standards outlined in the resolution form. Please see the termination of accreditation status below. All communication from the College will be directed to the program dean or equivalent.

Program accreditation maintenance

Accreditation maintenance is the process that the College’s education partners must follow in order for their program(s) to remain accredited. This happens as soon as a program has been awarded an accreditation level.

Notification of program changes

The College requests notification of any significant changes that occur within the program. Examples of significant changes include, but are not limited to:

  • An addition or deletion of course(s) or course content that affects maintenance of curricular standards;
  • Administrative status changes related to the dean, academic chair, and program lead;
  • Program relocation to another department, division, or campus within the same educational institution or to another institution; or
  • Any change that contravenes existing College program accreditation standards.

Should the College require a more in-depth, focused review of program changes, all related costs are the responsibility of the program under review (e.g., travel and accommodation for a site visit).

Access the EI portal to submit ongoing program changes and updates to the College.

Annual requirements

The requirements for a program to remain accredited include the submission of an annual report and an annual accreditation fee. Both the report and fee support the College’s quality assurance processes related to monitoring accreditation and the development and maintenance of accreditation standards. Any program not in compliance with the annual requirements will be formally notified to the attention of the dean of the program.

Access the EI portal to submit the annual report to the College.

Termination of a program’s accreditation

If the program is unable to demonstrate compliance with accreditation requirements, the College may terminate the accreditation status of the program. An official notice will be sent to the program outlining the reasoning.  

If the College terminates the accreditation status of a program, students who are currently enrolled in the program and successfully complete it will be considered graduates of an accredited program. Students who enter the program following termination will not be considered graduates of an accredited program. This will affect their direct or indirect pathways to becoming certified with the College. The termination of program accreditation may have legal implications for the program. The institution may wish to consult legal counsel.

Termination appeal process

If the College declines to renew the accreditation of a program, the program may request to appeal this decision. Termination can also occur during an accreditation cycle if a program is not meeting the accreditation maintenance requirements. A review of accreditation documentation will be conducted. This request must be submitted to [email protected] within 30 days of receiving a notice of termination, along with the accompanying fee.

Withdrawal of program accreditation

If a program wishes to withdraw its accreditation status, students who are currently enrolled in the program and successfully complete it will be considered graduates of an accredited program. Students who enter the program following the withdrawal will not be considered graduates of an accredited program. This will affect their direct or indirect pathways to becoming certified with the College. The withdrawal of program accreditation may have legal implications for the program. The institution may wish to consult legal counsel.

If a program no longer wishes to be accredited, it must contact the manager of academic relations at the College.



Updated 2022-10-07. Canadian College of Health Information Management reserves the right to revise this information without prior notice.