AHIMA Code of Ethics
Today, many professionals take issues of morality and ethics very seriously, especially HIM professionals. Since its development in 1928, the HIM profession has placed ethical values at the highest level of importance. Many different ethical principles have been used since 1928, but the most widely referred to and used today are the guiding principles of the AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) Code of Ethics.
The AHIMA Code of Ethics is binding on individuals who are members of the Association and/or credentialed by AHIMA. The most recent revision of the AHIMA Code of Ethics occurred in October of 1998, and now includes nine basic tenets (www.ahima.org).
I. HIM professionals should respect the rights and dignity of all individuals.
II. HIM professionals should comply with all laws, regulations, and standards governing the practice of health information management.
III. HIM professionals should strive for professional excellence through self- assessment and continuing education.
IV. HIM professionals should truthfully and accurately represent their professional credentials, education, and experience.
V. HIM professionals should adhere to the vision, mission, and values of the association.
VI. HIM professionals should promote and protect the confidentiality and security of health records and health information.
VII. HIM professionals should strive to provide accurate and timely information.
VIII. HIM professionals should promote high standards for health information management practice, education, and research.
IX. HIM professionals should act with integrity and avoid conflicts of interest in the performance of their professional and AHIMA responsibilities.
Any HIM professionals who are not following the AHIMA Code of Ethics and are displaying unethical behavior should be reported. The complaint may be filed within one year of the unethical behavior, and a copy will then be sent to the defendant. The complaint is also forwarded to the Professional Conduct Hearing Panel for decision. If necessary, a formal hearing may be held. If the defendant is found guilty of the violation, it could result in revoked credentials, formal reprimand, loss of AHIMA membership, and/or suspension of credentials.
Overall, the AHIMA Code of Ethics is not to be taken lightly. HIM professionals should follow the nine basic tenets and avoid/report any other HIM professionals who are not.