This is HIMAA Matters eNews Online


The monthly digital newsletter of the Health Information Management Association of Australia Limited
Volume 10 | Issue 01 | Digital
Picture of Catherine Garvey
Catherine Garvey

President - HIMAA

Picture of Catherine Garvey
Catherine Garvey

President - HIMAA

President's Message

Have you ever thought what our health industry would be like without our HIM competencies, qualifications, and Profession?

I know. Perish the thought! As a Board Director, it does no harm to reflect on the question, “So, what if …health organisation X does not have HIM competent personnel?”  It focuses, centres and anchors conversations. Very often, we are so busy doing the doing in our job, we ignore or underestimate what it means to be a ‘HIM professional’ and how much we contribute. No doubt, this thought may have crossed, or crosses, your mind from time to time too – most especially if the pressure is on and you may be the only HIM or Clinical Coder in your organisation. How do you go about resolving and addressing the sense of feeling solitary in what is a complex, busy health environment? I suggest that ‘birds of a feather, flock together’!

I have found by participating in HIMAA roles and activities, such as, Branch events and committees, communities of practice, continuous professional development and writing for the HIM-I, HIM-J and/or the conference (coming up at the end of October 😊) nurtures the “what should be” versus “what is.”  The tangible and intangible consequence of shared effort and learning converts our qualification into real life in a meaningful and visible way, building a collegiate response in our workplaces and strengthening our visibility accordingly in our industry; not to mention feeling good about your qualification. One wonderful thing about this participation is you do not feel so solitary, anymore. In fact, you amplify your competencies and continue to shine a light for the next generation of HIMs and Clinical Coders. It also makes a significant difference to your organisation; but they do not know that yet, perhaps?

HIMAA, in all its manifestations, always aims to represent members’ professional interests and educational competencies as the means to express our expected areas and levels of performance and to inform the articulation of these in our workplaces. Our competencies and associated standards of practice are cornerstones of our contributions to our health industry. Over our 70+ year span as an Association these aims have not change. What has changed is the way we use our competencies in today’s workplace and the shift in technology over the last decades. When you reflect on them, we have quite a breadth of skills, knowledge, and talent which we offer to our employers (131 of them, in fact, available at HIM Professional Competency Standards v_4 2023.pdf ( )– from paper-based/ electronic records to governance, privacy, and other legislative content, to health fund modelling, activity-based funding, primary and secondary data use and much more. The HIM degree is very versatile and has resulted in many of our members being in non-traditional HIM roles, also. Combine this with, what Amanda Blessing highlighted in her Webinar “Invisible to Invincible – Seven critical components to subtly powerful self-promotion” last year, a visibility strategy and emotional intelligence cannot be underestimated. Have you worked out your HIM career and visibility strategy?

The Board is very aware that throughout Australia there is a high demand for our qualifications and, indeed, the shortage of qualified HIMs and Clinical Coders is an issue. I have heard that once an Executive (singular and plural) become aware of the breadth and depth of what our competencies can offer, they are very keen to ensure that their organisation gets some of that! This was reinforced by comments from some of our Keynote Speakers at our 2023 Congress who were left with an extraordinarily strong impression of our talent!

Most States and Territories have raised workforce skill shortage – testament to the opening question; absence of our HIM skills is having a negative effect in the health industry. In our recent Branch Convenor meeting, a few reviews were highlighted as progressing at Branch or Department of Health level. These are exciting developments coming from the ground up. Needless to say, the HIMAA Board and CEO will assist in every way to lend our voice and influence for a successful outcome. What is even more exciting is that HIMs are driving these conversations. Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, and Western Australia have already made significant inroads. I know the South Australia Branch is also keen to lead up a paper, along the same lines, and our colleagues in our other Branches have raised similar concerns. Within our own organisation we have our “Case for Change” which is challenging us all to think about our Profession in this current day and age. I think you will agree, we have a lot of work to do and although it may not be obvious, the Board and HIMAA office are switching gears to find better ways to support our Professions’ visibility and presence in our health industry.

One small cog in this gear change is the Board Town Hall 2024 calendar of meetings. Akin to the one we had during our 2023 HIM Awareness Week, we will be hosting a Teams Meeting on 6th March as a lunch time (morning time (WA)) short session. This is an ideal opportunity to listen in on updates and questions you and others may also have. Take time to join in to stay informed.

Our Board Meeting held on 13th February saw us welcome Karin von Spross as the new Executive Support Officer to HIMAA. Karen will be delighted to help you with queries. We confirmed our positive financial position, current forecasted to the end of financial year: this healthy financial position enables the Board to consider how best to reinvest our financial resources so as to improve our strategic outcomes for Our People (members, and organisation capabilities), Our Market (partnerships and advocacy), Our Governance (the Board and all our committees), Our Products (events, accreditation, education and professional practice) and Our Financial Sustainability (sustainable organisation, investment).

We had the pleasure of hearing from Jennie Shepheard, on behalf of the Education Committee, Clinical Coding Work Group, regarding a set of standards that have been drafted to describe Clinical Coding Capability for the roles in the clinical coding workforce. Our sincerest thanks to the dedicated effort of this Working Group in finalising this piece of work. The Board is reviewing the tabled document with a plan to factor this into our practice and knowledge set for clinical coding, soon.

We also continued the workforce conversation with clinical coding in mind. Watch out for details on our upcoming Clinical Coding Workforce Summit later in this edition of HIMAA Matters. We see this as a valuable forum to look at present and future status of our clinical coding workforce and to “explore thought leadership in relation to national directions for clinical coded data, public and private healthcare perspectives, professional requirements for the workforce, the work-ready clinical coder and emerging innovations including AI and value-based case.”

Our CEO, Sallyanne, has been extremely busy establishing the capability and capacity of the office in support of our members. Mary-Ellen Wetherspoon gave the Board a short presentation on our Clinical Coding Education Services and is eager to strengthen these offerings. Our recent advertised Events and Marketing and HIM Advisor roles will soon add extra drive to our reach and potential. We eagerly await these positions.

The Board met again on 27th February for an extraordinary meeting to review, in detail, the Case for Change feedback. The information gathered from our survey will be used in our construct for next steps. Once formulated, we will provide an update.

We had a very lively Branch Convenors meeting last week. It is great to hear the successes and wins gained at a Branch level, but also to hear some of the challenges Convenors face in supporting their members. Your Convenors really do value the collaboration, assistance and contribution of their local members and I encourage everyone to participate in the events they organise, on your behalf. Sincerest thanks to all our Volunteers who help make the Profession successful. We could not do it without you!

The Conference Committee has met several times since January and are gaining momentum in their planning and preparation for our upcoming Conference. They are enthusiastically looking forward to receiving your abstracts, posters, and workshop support. It is great to see we have already received a number of these. Close date for abstracts is 14th March 2024.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – either way you’re right” Henry Ford

Catherine Garvey


Table of Contents

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Picture of From the CEO's desk
From the CEO's desk

Sallyanne Wissmann | CEO (Interim), HIMAA

Picture of From the CEO's desk

From the CEO's desk

Sallyanne Wissmann | CEO, HIMAA

CEO Report

Supporting and enabling the health information workforce is a priority for HIMAA as outlined in the President’s report.

Recognising Skill Shortage

Last week I submitted a response to have the workforce shortages for Health Information Managers and Clinical Coders considered for the Australian Government Priority Skills and Priority List.

Jobs and Skills Australia leads work on skills shortage analysis including the annual Skills Priority List and reports on Skills Shortages. The Skills Priority List (SPL) provides a detailed view of occupations in shortage in Australian and by each state and territory including the future demand for occupations in Australia. The SPL is released annually as a point-in-time assessment of the labour market. The current Skills Priority List indicates that there is no shortage of HIMs or Clinical Coders in any States/Territories or nationally. I suspect this is because no-one has previously made a submission about these occupations. Acknowledgement and thanks is also given to Shane Sanfilippo, State Director Health Information Management, Qld Health and the HIMs in Qld Health who gathered Queensland recruitment data and made a submission for that State. Queensland’s data demonstrated a low proportion of HIM roles filled and a moderate proportion of Clinical Coder roles filled during 2023. I will monitor the outcome of both of these submissions and continue to advocate for the current state of the health information management workforce.

National Coding Workforce Summit

Initiated by the Board in response to the current and emerging challenges facing the Clinical Coding workforce, I am pleased to announce today HIMAA’s National Coding Workforce Summit to be held on Wednesday 1st May in Sydney. HIMAA is hosting the Summit to understand the changing landscape in clinical coding over the next ten years and how to plan for this future. The Summit will explore thought leadership in relation to national directions for clinical coded data, public and private healthcare perspectives, professional requirements for the workforce, the work-ready clinical coder and emerging innovations including AI and value-based case. The Summit will bring together representatives from all Australian states and territories, private hospital providers, Commonwealth agencies responsible for clinical coding, private health insurers, professional associations, education institutions educating on clinical coding, and companies who support clinical coding, in person in Sydney. There is the option to attend in person and contribute to the discussion or to listen to the Summit proceedings online. I would love to see you there.

Webinars and Events in March

HIMAA's event program for 2024 is designed to provide you with opportunities to expand your knowledge, inform your practice, contribute your expertise, and collaborate and network with others. The following HIMAA and HIMAA endorsed events are available to you in March:

In addition, don't forget to submit your 2024 National Conference abstracts due on the 14th March, we would love for you to share your experiences and contribute to the ongoing evolution of the profession. An additional conference discount will be available for conference presenters who are HIMAA members and who have not presented at a HIMAA conference in the past three years.

HIMAA Office Staff Change

It is with sadness that HIMAA is farewelling Ragni Lal, one of HIMAA's Coding Educators over the past 17 years. Ragni is well known by many HIMAA members and students for her lovely manner, her knowledge of the coding classification, and her ability to teach and impart information. Ragni is moving to a coding role in addition to raising her young family. We wish Ragni all the very best and sincerely thank her for her contribution to HIMAA education services over many years.

Recently HIMAA has welcomed Karin von Spross as the Executive Support Officer. Karin's role supports the HIMAA Board and CEO and is the liaison for HIMAA's Committees, Communities of Practice and Branches. Karin joins HIMAA with a number of years' experience in practice management and executive support.

This week Naomi Venturato has joined HIMAA as the Events Coordinator. With an events and marketing background, Naomi is deeply passionate about event management and fostering strong relationships within the community. Naomi is committed to bringing creativity, energy, and dedication to the role, ensuring that HIMAA's events are not only well organised but also engaging and impactful for all participants.

I am excited to share that Kathleen Rogers will be joining HIMAA after Easter in the new role as HIM Advisor. Kathleen is well known to many HIMAA members for her volunteer roles as the Scientific Industry Chair for HIMAA's Conference Committee over the past four years, and previous Qld HIMAA Branch Convenor. The HIM Advisor role will provide health information management advice and expertise to advance HIMAA's strategic initiatives, with a predominant focus on HIMAA's services and products for HIMs and voice for HIMs. The role will have strategic, operational, advocacy and stakeholder responsibilities and work in collaboration with HIMAA Committees and members.

In closing, myself and the team are focused on supporting you, our members, ensuring great education outcomes for everyone who enrolls in one of our courses, and providing leadership for the health information management profession. I welcome your input and feedback at any time to or call me on 0403 898 403.


Member News

Latest news and updates submitted by members. Any member updates, please submit to

Rural and Remote CoP Meeting – 19th March

Rural and Remote Community of Practice Meetings     The HIMAA Rural and Remote CoP have online 1 hour (MS Teams) meetings, scheduled every 3rd Tuesday of the month around lunchtime (morning tea time for WA members).   The next online meeting will be held 19th March 2024. If you live in:

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Invitation for Diploma of Clinical Coding Graduates

La Trobe University invites graduates of HIMAA’s Diploma in Clinical Coding to apply for the Bachelor Of Health Information Management, with credits for Medical Terminology and Introduction to Health Classification A. This is a great opportunity to make a significant difference in healthcare using the power of health information.

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Education News

HIMAA Student Profile – Tahnee Callum

Meet Tahnee Callum, a seasoned health industry professional, transitioned into Clinical Coding in 2023, emphasizing continuous learning and relationship building with VMOs and Clinical Documentation Specialists under the mentorship of Mary-Ellen Wetherspoon.

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HIM Student Profile

Meet Alessia Di Carlo. Alessia is in the second year of her HIM degree at La Trobe. She is excited to provide some information about her study experiences and plans for the future.

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What's on

Stay up to date with the upcoming events and activities at HIMAA

HIMAA VIC Branch Webinar
What's on

Webinar 33: HIMAA VIC Branch Webinar: HIM, Digital Health, and Cybersecurity

Join us for an engaging and informative webinar as we kick off the year with a warm welcome to our esteemed VIC Branch Members! “HIM in the Digital Health Realm” by Ross Buchanan: Explore the intersection of Health Information Management (HIM) and the evolving landscape of digital health technologies. Gain valuable insights into navigating this rapidly changing field. “A Socio-Technical Approach to Healthcare Cybersecurity” by Tafheem Wani: Delve into the critical topic of healthcare cybersecurity from a socio-technical perspective. Learn strategies to safeguard sensitive healthcare data and protect against emerging threats.

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What's on

2024 HIMAA Workforce Summit

The Health Information Management Association of Australia (HIMAA) is hosting a National Clinical Coding Workforce Summit to understand the changing landscape in clinical coding over

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Latest News

EOI Branch Convenor SA

EOI Branch Convenor SA The South Australian Branch of HIMAA is seeking a new Convenor to replace the recently resigned position held by Terry Seery.

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