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Advancing medical coding: Medical coders matter, and the College is committed to advancing this practice

Certified medical coders ensure that the personal health information of Canadians contributes to quality care. The accuracy of the coded data affects health care decisions, planning, funding, research, and more. The data is transformed into meaningful information to accelerate improvements in health care, system performance, and population health across many jurisdictions. Government policymakers use coded data to make decisions about our health systems and the care we receive.

The industry requires more coders and advancement to entry-to-practice competencies

The Canadian College of Health Information Management (CCHIM) conducted extensive industry and academic consultations from 2018 to 2022. Through the consultations, we determined that the legacy academic standards (LOHIM 2015 V3) no longer met the needs of the industry due to increasing complexity within the medical coding practice across Canada. More specifically, the industry requires more certified medical coders to enter the workforce and a resolution of widely recognized entry-to-practice competency gaps.

With the introduction of modernized general standards in 2022, we have the opportunity to build a complementary set of medical coding academic standards that support training beyond the basic competence required by LOHIM 2015 V3. This will ensure that while future medical coders will have the general knowledge required by all health information professionals, they will also acquire an appropriate level of entry-to-practice knowledge fit for the workplace.

CCHIM consultations with stakeholders also informed the introduction of the Certified Classification and Coding Specialist (CCCS) certification in 2019, developed for CHIM professionals with 5+ years of classification and coding experience in acute inpatient settings. This certification enables experienced coders to hone their skills further.

These advancements have led to an expansion of CCHIM’s accredited academic ecosystem, increasing the certified workforce across the country with more programs being added yearly.

We have launched working groups on the future of coding to build a path toward further modernizing these academic coding standards. Please watch the HIP Week 2022 “Evolving Standards and Elevating Coding” session, which is available for free in the CHIMA learning centre.

The College remains committed to deepening and expanding the medical coding practice in Canada.

For programs yet to be accredited by the Canadian College of Health Information Management, we would be pleased to discuss how these modernized standards advance data literacy in Canada. Please get in touch with us to learn more today.