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Announcing HICA: A new designation for health information professionals

The Canadian College of Health Information Management is pleased to announce the launch of a new professional designation—the Health Information-Certified Associate (HICA).

From the moment health data is captured in Canada, the individual who supplied it is at the centre of a critical information life cycle filled with sensitivities and opportunities. Throughout this cycle, various health information professionals interact with the data, collaborating within a complex ecosystem of roles and responsibilities.

Whether in person or virtually, there is a critical, under-represented workforce of health information professionals at the beginning of the information life cycle. The new HICA designation recognizes and elevates these professionals to ensure their direct impact on Canadians’ quality of care enhances an individual’s health care journey.

Introducing the new designation at Health Information Professionals (HIP) Week 2022, CEO and Registrar Jeff Nesbitt, BA, MBA, ICD.D, noted that “our work in accreditation standards and professional certification follows a process of engagement, consultation, and collaboration. This work is driven by the knowledge that certification leads to greater public trust, a stronger workforce, and a more consequential health information profession.”

​The HICA designation is supported by modern academic standards and focused on five practice areas:

  • Clinical knowledge
  • Professionalism in health care
  • Health care office management
  • Health care technology
  • Health care systems

While the immediate focus is registration within acute care, this professional certification applies to roles in primary care (e.g., health records clerk, medical office assistant, data entry clerk, etc.) and beyond (e.g., veterinary medicine, the penitentiary system).

CHIMA’s manager of health information operations, Alisha Peto, CHIM, CCDIS, noted that these practice areas are grounded in ethics, equity, diversity, and inclusion and “have been developed through robust consultations.” Certification signals to employers that a health information professional is credible and committed to the profession.

With over 1,300 hospitals hiring registration professionals and over a hundred medical office assistant programs across the country, the College recognizes the critical role of registration professionals in the health information lifecycle. Also speaking during the HIP Week session, Board Secretary and Director Jennifer Bennett, MBA, CHIM, explained that certification for registration professionals would streamline management, enhance professionalism, and improve recruitment.

To earn the HICA designation, applicants must successfully write the Health Information-Certified Associate (HICA) national certification exam (NCE). The experiential pathway allows current registration professionals to write the HICA NCE without additional schooling. However, entrants into the profession will be required to graduate from an accredited health information associate program before attempting the HICA NCE.

HICA designation holders will maintain their certification through an annual renewal, upholding ethical codes and completing continuing professional educational (CPE) credits.

Interested applicants, recruiters, and organizations are encouraged to visit the certification page for more information on eligibility, the HICA NCE, and pathways for attaining the HICA designation.

If you have questions on this new designation, wish to hire a HICA professional, or want to become accredited, please reach out to [email protected].